The Jensen Lakes Crossing Library in St. Albert. (Source: St. Albert Public Library)

St. Albert’s newest public library will open its doors to the public at 1 p.m. on Thursday. The Jensen Lakes branch is located on St. Albert Trail and Everitt Drive N.

This is the second location for the St. Albert Public Library, which loaned more than 1 million items in 2018 and hosted more than 1,400 programs. Council went ahead with opening a far less expensive second branch after the public voted against building a $22-million library in the 2017 municipal election.

On the ballot, residents were asked "Are you in favour of the City proceeding with further planning of a branch library?" 7,802 residents’ responded "yes" and 13,346 residents responded "no".

Following the vote, council made the decision to move forward with a $700,000 library in a strip mall storefront.

"We’re hearing a lot of excitement from the community about the storefront location. Whether Jensen Lakes Library relieves the stress on services at the downtown library, or expands learning and leisure opportunities for those citizens who have difficulty accessing the downtown library, we know this small space will have a big impact on the community," said Library Board Chair Janice Marschner.

"Because the space is 3,700 square feet, the storefront location will focus on the Library’s ‘greatest hits’ – the most in-demand collection favourites, public computers, and children’s programs," said Library CEO Peter Bailey in a written release. "But patrons at both locations will have access to the full Library collections, as we will transport items back and forth for the convenience of all residents across the city."

The name Jensen Lakes was chosen because the neighbourhood is a former wetland. Library officials said project designers consulted with Indigenous leaders to bring meaningful elements of Indigenous relationships with that wetland into the space.

While the library will open for business on Jan. 2, the grand opening will not be held until Jan. 18.