When the Vega branch of the Montreal Children’s Library closed in 2016, it was a blow to many families living downtown. For more than 80 years, the branch had been a key part of the community, but could not continue operating due to a lack of funding.
But thanks to a grassroots group called Innovation Youth, which operates a community drop-in centre at 1410 Pierce St., kids and youth in the downtown area have a library in their community once again.
Books from the former Vega branch were donated to the Innovation Youth Centre, which has also pledged to keep adding to the collection to keep it updated.
“It’s a tiny library, but little by little we’ll build it up to better meet the needs of the community,” said Innovation Youth Director Jenna Smith.
The library opened in September; membership is free and provides access to more than 4,500 books for babies, children, teens and young adults. In addition to book lending, it also offers drop-in activities, including storytelling, Lego-building, music, games nights, free play nights, and a science club.
“It comes down to creating community for families so they aren’t isolated,” Smith said. “Having a library will help families feel rooted in their neighbourhood.”
Innovation Youth has operated in the Peter-McGill neighbourhood for 10 years, offering a community space to families and youth who live or spend time in the downtown core. It offers food-autonomy initiatives, a high school diploma program for youth and young adults, and coordinates Neighbourhood on the Move, the annual summer festival for families in Peter-McGill.
The Innovation Youth Library is open Tues. to Thurs. from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Fri. from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sat. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, visit innovationjeunes.com.