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Belleville Public Library makes room for archives

Construction of the archival unit from the outside of the library. [1]

The construction of the archives unit at the northeast side of the Belleville Public Library building. Photo by William Proulx

By William Proulx  [2]

BELLEVILLE –The Hastings County Historical Society [3]and the city of Belleville are relocating their archives to the public library.

The project was negotiated and is run by five groups – the historical society, which was in charge of the archives before the project, the Belleville Library Board [4], the archives advisory committee, the city of Belleville and Hastings County.

After two years of discussion, it was decided the best place for the archives was the Belleville Public Library. For some years the archives has been housed at the Heritage Centre building at 154 Cannifton Rd. N. in Cannifton. Maintenance costs at that building are high because of moisture and insects in the building, said Trevor Pross, chief executive officer of the Belleville library.

The historical society raised $250,000 that went toward the $800,000 project.

Currently the library building houses a café, a shop selling used books and the John M. Parrott Art Gallery in addition to its library facility.

Pross says the archives will attract a greater audience.

“Everyone can come to one place. They can go to the art gallery, the library – we have the bookstore and café – and now the archives. And now that everything is in one place it’s sort of a one-stop shopping place for people,” he said.

The renovating began in May, and is set to be completed some time in mid-December.

If the construction is completed before the holiday season, Pross said, the library will hold an opening ceremony in December. However, if it runs close to the holiday season, the grand opening will put off until January.

The library will remain open during its regular hours and most of the construction will take place after hours.