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Leamington officials are showing off the new library.

Mayor Hilda MacDonald was joined Monday by Essex County Warden Gary McNamara and Essex County Library Board chair Nelson Santos at the grand opening.

Minister of Transportation and Francophone Affairs Caroline Mulroney and Chatham-Kent-Leamington MPP Rick Nicholls also attended the event to see the renovations that cost $1.3 million.

MacDonald says she gets emotional speaking about the new library, saying it was where she learned how to speak English.

“My parents emigrated from Austria in the 50's, German was my first language and it still chokes me up because I have a tender heart for people coming here where English is not their first language,” says MacDonald.

The public library, located at 1 John Street, has been expanded to 9200 square feet.

MacDonald says the new design is meant to create a more inviting community space, equipped to offer residents the opportunity to explore, create, imagine and learn.

There are also several new features including single study pods that provide space for small groups and quiet study and social gathering areas that allow for collaborative learning.

There’s also a Maker Space with 3D printing, and a space that allows residents to try their hobby skills such as button making and vinyl cutting.

There’s even a music recording studio that supports sound exploration and music development and a video lab with photo and video editing technology allowing residents of all ages to explore the film making process.

MacDonald says the features have been added specifically to provide residents expanded opportunities to develop a variety of literacy skills, whether it’s reading and writing, arts and culture, or digital competencies, all being essential skills in everyday interactions.

“It’s inspiring to see the Essex County Library and the Municipality of Leamington come together to create this accessible, functional and beautiful space,” adds MacDonald. “We’ve done a lot of great things in Leamington but this is one of the pillars of our community.”

The Leamington Library has been located at the John and Erie Street location since 1912. The current building was constructed in the mid 1950’s, with an addition completed in 1974.