When students from École Héritage Immersion stepped into the Jolys Regional Library, they were amazed by the brand-new furniture and transformations, says the head librarian.  

Nicole Gregoire, Jolys Regional Library head librarian, says they have had a phenomenal 2023.  

The Jolys Regional Library received two $25,000 grants from the Manitoba Sports Culture and Heritage, among other funding. They have put the money towards upgrading their space, workstations and books. 

Gregoire says accessibility was also atop their mind when thinking of the upgrades. One of the biggest changes is the brand-new counter, which is multi-levelled. She says children and wheelchair users can now access services more easily and be properly served. 

Furniture isn’t the only thing they wanted to make accessible. While they are difficult to find, Gregoire says they bought over $8000 worth of dyslexia-friendly font books in English and French. The funds for these books came from the Manitoba Accessibility Fund.  

Gregoire says community members’ jaws drop when they visit the new space.  

“People are not sure what to say. They're just like, ‘Oh my goodness, it just changes the whole space,’” she says. “The big grins all around when they're sitting on the new sectionals or on the armchairs. When they're being served at the checkout counter, they're just amazed at how clean everything looks.” 

The library has also become a hub for students looking to work.  

“The students are amazed some of the armchairs come with tables. So, they're using the armchairs with their laptops. As [staff are] sitting, there are a handful of students sitting in the library and doing homework, which is wonderful,” she says. 

When it comes to programming, Gregoire says they have also brought their programs outside the library walls. New Horizon for Seniors is an outreach program for seniors, and it’s a book club without a reading list.  

They visit senior homes around St. Pierre-Jolys to read with the seniors and talk about different books and authors. They also deliver books through requests as some seniors face mobility issues. 

Other programs use their space, including Makers Mate for crafters, and PJ Tales and Kids Unit for kids. Gregoire says the space changes have helped, especially with the crafters’ experiences.  

“It's beautiful to be able to physically see the impact that libraries have in people's lives,” she says. 

Looking ahead to the new year, Gregoire says they will continue applying for grants, making positive changes and working for the community.  

“We're going to continue forging ahead and listening to what the community wants and trying to service them the best that we can,” she says. 

With files from Adi Loewen.


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