Two libraries in the southeast are in danger of closing their doors.
The Jolys Regional Library has been in operation for more than 60 years. But, Head Librarian Nicole Gregoire says earlier this week they were notified that their two locations in St. Pierre and St. Malo will be closing.
The libraries are located inside schools. On Monday, the Red River Valley School Division served notice that the agreements for both branches are being terminated, effective December 21, 2022 in St. Malo and March 1, 2023, in St. Pierre.
"This is due in part to an anticipated increase in the school enrollments as well as the needs for additional space," says Gregoire.
She says this will be quite a loss for those communities, noting they serve just over 5,000 residents from the Village of St. Pierre, the RM of De Salaberry and two Hutterite colonies.
"Throughout the pandemic, we only had a reduction of about 25 per cent of circulation," notes Gregoire. "Which is fantastic, certainly compared to some other Manitoba libraries throughout the pandemic."
Gregoire says they now have an opportunity for the Jolys Regional Library to find new homes before these dates while continuing to provide services without disruption.
The library board is working on solutions and has asked for support from the Council and Administration of both the RM of De Salaberry and the Village of St. Pierre, as well as the Association of Manitoba Bilingual Municipalities in lobbying the appropriate levels of government, from the school division to the province.
Gregoire says because the news is still so fresh, they are still at the very beginning of planning solutions.
"We are optimistic and we have a great supportive community," she adds. "And we will find a solution."
Gregoire says she is not even sure what the Red River School Division plans to do with its collection of books in the two libraries.
"Libraries are the heart of the community and it's much more than just a building with books," says Gregoire. "Our library affects every single family within our community and I just want to say thank you to all the residents and our patrons for their support."