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‘It’s back to life, and it’s beautiful’

Mansfield and Pontefract public library now open at Dagenais House

by Camilla Faragalli
Mansfield and Pontefract
Jan. 7, 2024
The Mansfield and Pontefract public library officially reopened its doors on Wednesday, after moving from the George Bryson Heritage House to the Dagenais House just metres away.
While the library never officially closed, its books have been packed since the summer months to make way for the Bryson House Museum. Books remained available upon request for the duration of the move.
“We had to cut back service a bit, but people understood, they were very patient,” said Sandra Armstrong, mayor of the municipality of Mansfield and Pontefract.
“Now it’s back to life, and it’s beautiful.”
Built in the 1800s by George Bryson on the same land as his family home, the Dagenais House was initially intended as an administration office.
The ground floor is now dedicated to adult books, while the upstairs space is home to the library’s children’s collection and boasts a large conference table as well as comfortable reading chairs.
“The way it’s set up now there’s more room than at the Bryson House,” Armstrong said.
“I feel the library should have been at the Dagenais House from the start, it’s just a beautiful, calm place – a nice place for a library.”
Martine Marion has worked as a librarian at the Bryson House library for 28 years.
“I’m very happy to be at the Maison Dagenais,” she said. “There’s something special when you enter the building, it’s a good feeling you get there.”
Marion added that she believes the public will enjoy the look and feel of the library’s new home, too.
“It’s just like if the library was from the old times, like the 1920s. I feel like I’m in the time of our great-grandparents,” she said.
Given the larger upstairs space available, Marion said there is now the possibility of hosting regular activities for the community.
“We were thinking about having soirées (evenings) for readings and crafts for children,” she said.
“We’re trying to have a nice space also for adults,” she added. “We want to give them a space to read and have peace and quiet for an hour.”
The library’s winter hours are 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

Mayor of Mansfield and Pontefract Sandra Armstrong at the municipality’s new public library located in the Dagenais House, just metres from its previous location in the George Bryson House.

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