The Cochrane Public Library is moving programming to the great outdoors.
The Penelope West Reading Garden officially opened on Wednesday June 1.
Cochrane Mayor Ivan Brooker and some tiny helpers, helped cut the ribbon on the newly renovated outdoor space.
Jeri Maitland, Executive Director (ED) for the Cochrane Public Library says, it was her first order of business when she took her role as ED.
"When I came here last July, one of the first things I decided I wanted to do was get rid of the gravel in the front of the library so I am happy to say we officially launched that space. Twelve truckloads of gravel are gone, there's a pathway, there's a fence, there's sod, there's beautiful flowers. And now it is usable space for children's programming as well as adult programming."
Maitland says the space out front was around 3000 sq feet of unusable space.
"Now that it is, I think the town is really going to enjoy to come and sit and read, it is quiet outside. We really want people to come and enjoy the green space."
Summer children's programming will be starting this month.
"We are going to launch the TD Summer Reading Program on June 25. Everything and anything that we can do out on that lawn we are going to be doing out there."
The initial response to the garden has been extremely positive.
"Everybody's thrilled, I have had so many positive comments about how beautiful it is. We have blankets available for people to take books outside- sit on a blanket, there's benches. Everybody seems really pleased and excited about it."
The reading garden is not the only surprise the library has, on Saturday June 11 the Cochrane Public Library will unveil the new look for the children's area as well as introduce 'STEAM' programming.
"That stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math," shares Mailand. "We will be doing all kinds of fantastic experiments, working with water, doing marble runs, we will have lego clubs, robotics, all kinds of things."
Maitland is keeping tight lipped about all the revamped children's area will offer, stating all these changes are part of her master plan.
"My whole goal eventually within the next few years is to really transform the whole library. We want it to be a really exciting, engaging, a relaxing, and inspiring place."
Creating additional programming, especially for children, is a must, says Maitland. "Our main focus is 0-5, literacy is a big issue and it is an issue here in Cochrane, so we need to address that. So one way we can do that is by creating a really great space for kids to come."
Becoming a library lover for life, is her end goal.
"We want to keep them engaged throughout their life. So we get them from baby story time and toddler time, now we are going to extend that into our older kids, we will start to talk to the teens and find out what they want, and then keeping the adults interested and engaged in public libraries as well."