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Canadian Cities’ Red Hot Library Development Continues | October 2018

Compiled by Barbara Clubb with files from Edmonton, Halifax, Kingston, Lethbridge, Markham, Montréal, Regina, Toronto, Vaughan, Victoria and Winnipeg library systems and the Canadian Urban Libraries Council. 

Second in an Ex Libris series about public library branch development in Canada.

In 2018, Canada’s urban libraries are continuing their aggressive development of new and renewed branch facilities as innovative, interactive and integrated community hubs. Learn more about Edmonton’s, Calder branch, Halifax’s Dartmouth North and Musquodoboit branches, Kingston-Frontenac’s Rideau Heights branch, Lethbridge’s Main Branch Modernization Project, Markham’s Aaniin branch, Bibliothèques Montréal’s Benny branch, Regina’s Albert Branch at mâmawêyatitân centre, Toronto’s Albion, Amesbury Park and Eglinton Square branches, Vaughan’s Pleasant Ridge and Vellore Village branches, Victoria’s sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay branch and Winnipeg’s Windsor Park branch.

Among the 15 there are 2 LEED Gold and 4 LEED Silver designations. Many of these new or renovated branches are part of a larger community facility and share resources and spaces with municipal or corporate partners. There is a special emphasis on small but mighty spaces (6,000 SF and under) including Halifax, Kingston-Frontenac, Regina, and Toronto’s Amesbury Park.

A word cloud about these facilities would include: striking design and artwork, LEED, community consultation, radical transparency, accessibility, lots of space and seating, respect for and acknowledgment of Indigenous culture, maker spaces, community responsive, early literacy, abundance of natural light, big windows, flexibility and adaptability, part of a larger complex, warm and welcoming, hub, a place to go. And a smaller but striking set of words would include: community kitchens, outdoor reading and play areas, reading stairs and gardens, aquariums, community health and food security, neighbourhood regeneration, more flexible stack space with no diminution of collections.

Technology continues to underpin increasingly responsive and efficient service. This includes self-check and automated returns (some with receipt), sophisticated maker spaces and creative studios, digital media labs, wireless access (increasingly 24/7), after-hours branch access, hot-spot loans and much more.

The following short segments on these 15 exciting new or significantly renovated urban branch libraries in Canada include: a brief highlight section with type of project (e.g. new, renovation, rebuild etc.) opening date, size, capital costs, architect, LEED designation if any, number of storeys, stand-alone or integrated, most recent circulation figure available for the branch, population of the area served by the branch and, population of the city. This is followed by the significant features of the branch as identified by the library system, hyperlinks to media and information articles, and photos of the interior and exterior.

Plan your visits now. You will be both impressed and welcomed.

Barbara Clubb is the retired City Librarian for the Ottawa Public Library. She maintains interests in library development and architecture, children’s literacy, citizenship, choral singing, senior fitness, and her book club. She is the recipient of the Queen’s Silver, Gold and Diamond Jubilee medals for service to community and country.”

See the list here: