Chances are that if you have visited the Library’s Main Branch downtown in the past few weeks, you may have been a bit confused but also excited by all the activity –collections and computers have been moved, entrances changed, and the upper North Wing has been closed.
The Library’s Main Branch Modernization Project (MBMP) is in full swing but the best part of this major facelift story is that while the upper North Wing is now temporarily closed for renovation, Library customers can still access all resources, the Theatre Gallery, and the Community Meeting Room.
Library CEO, Terra Plato says “It’s been a bit hectic but we would like to thank the community for their patience and cheerfulness through the changes to this much-loved downtown building. We’re lucky to have this opportunity to update and preserve it, and to modify its spaces to incorporate the changing roles of today’s Library. The way libraries were designed 20 years ago no longer work for the role we play today in many people’s lives. This revitalization of the Main Branch will allow the Library to much better serve the community in the years ahead.”
Terra notes “The process has presented us with some significant challenges to date, and we know there are more to come, but staff have remained smiling through it all. Their ability to get things done and adapt as collections and services have moved has been remarkable. With the changes, the number of directional questions received by staff has more than quadrupled. Our primary goal was to ensure that we could maintain full services to the public during renovations, and it is due to the hard work of staff that we are able to accomplish this”.
In 2016, MBMP work was completed in the Children’s Services and the South Wing areas. In 2017, the work continues with the North Wing, and includes work on the roof, the construction of an after-hours entrance, development of an extended teen area, a focus on accommodating technology power users, and the improvement of public meeting spaces. When renovations are completed the North Wing’s upper level will be redesigned with a focus on social/leisure space, while the North Wing’s lower level will have a focus on research space.
Signs have been placed throughout the Library directing Library customers to collections and services including the public computers which are now located in the Lower Study.
MBMP includes funding from the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program, the Lethbridge Public Library, and the City of Lethbridge. The overall completion date is scheduled for fall 2017.