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PEC Library’s ‘A Place for YOUth’ project earns funding nod

The Prince Edward Public Library project, “A Place for YOUth” is one of 21 projects to receive funding from a community initiative from local insurer The Commonwell.

Seeing many important local causes needing funding over the pandemic, The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group stepped in with a philanthropy initiative L.E.A.F. (Learning and Engagement Accelerator Fund) to help upgrade, update and even build new facilities or programming in communities they serve.

“We were overwhelmed with over 120 applications requesting over $5 million for this inaugural year of L.E.A.F. Fund grants,” said Tim Shauf, President and CEO of The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group. “We couldn’t think of a more important way to give-back to our communities than by supporting these important local causes that give residents food, exercise, education and entertainment.”

The Picton Branch Library, in its description for the initiative, notes that for many years, it has struggled to meet the often-competing needs of youth, families, and adults due to space limitations.

“For example, the Discover Youth 2SLGBTQ+ group often wait in the hall for the knitting group to finish using the meeting space which can be frustrating for both groups. This project will enhance youth spaces in the expanded and renovated library with access to technology, friendly library staff and other resources. Youth who spend time in the library are more connected to each other and their community and are exposed to new ideas, books and technology in a rich learning environment.”

The project will add:
A Youth Activity Area with kitchenette and theatre risers. This room will be accessible and welcoming to everyone for theatre programs, author visits and other youth engagement programs. The library will offer science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) programs for youth in this space.

An exterior courtyard garden area which youth will be able to use for quiet study, visiting with friends and to enjoy the green space. Garden beds which can be tended by youth volunteers will be an additional feature of this area.

Recognizing that youth often need a quiet space, the project will add a “sensory friendly” area. Inspired by similar projects at other libraries, this will be a place where overwhelmed youth can go to take a break. Useful for people on the autism spectrum, with sensory processing disorder, or anxiety, it will be an enclosed room with a variety of tactile manipulatives, soft seating, and calming lights.

An exterior amphitheatre space will allow for exciting live performances as well as be a performance venue for young musicians. Feeling supported by their community will allow young musical artists to grow and thrive.

Soundproof room – this space will be available for musical recording, podcasting and more. Youth who wish to develop their technological skills through this space will be able to do so at no cost.

A computer lounge will include computers, tables and chairs and an exterior patio. Students need space to work and study with helpful assistance at hand. The library’s community makerspace welcomes creatives and inventors of all ages to use technology and other makerspace tools to innovate, and the expanded lounge will mean there is space for this to happen.

Exterior laneway area – There is a brick laneway in between the Picton Branch Library and next door’s Regent theatre. This space will become a lively market area with murals and sitting areas, with bike racks and lighting. The library piloted a small project in Summer 2020 which welcomed buskers and artists to book the outdoor space, and we were delighted by the enthusiastic young visual and musical artists who took advantage of the opportunity to share their passions with the community while also earning money.

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  1. Jessica says:

    This is great news!

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