What to Expect When You’re Expecting (A Revitalized Library)

So you’ve heard about the library is undergoing changes, but what does that mean for you, your family, and your community? Some of the changes we’re going to make are mandatory, and some where changes that simply needed to be made a long time ago…

Mandatory Components of Library Revitalization:

  • Accessible washrooms on the main floor
    • Now, not only can everyone use the washroom, but now you don’t have to go on a hike into the basement!
  • Replaced/ upgraded flooring on the lower level
    • Have you seen some of the stains on the carpets in the Carnegie Room? It’s like a fifth grade science project… And you probably haven’t seen the tiles in the current Administration Area, but they’re the colour of Tupperware from the 1970s.
  • New focus on open spaces and merchandising areas
    • Did you know the library has merchandise for sale to help raise funds? Yeah, nobody does. And the Friends of St. Thomas Public Library are going to have their own space!
  • Incorporate sustainable energy components as far as practicable
    • It’s standard practice now, but the library is going to be as green as possible.

But there’s also thought to:

  • Creating flexible, harmonious spaces using consistent flow of colour and materials
    • Basically, we’re making conscious efforts when it comes to paint and fabric colours, and where the library materials are going to be placed. Right now, it’s kind of helter-skelter and make-do.
  • Possibility of redesigned entry and another elevator
    • It gets tricky because of the physical aspects of the building, but a second elevator and redesigned entrance isn’t off the table.

 What you can expect, floor by floor:

Lower level: Future Youth Department

  • Increasing the space from 3,500 to 9,000 square feet
    • More space for kids to be kids! It just makes sense children and teens to have the largest library space possible in an area where they don’t have to worry about being completely quiet.
  • Enhancing the popular Teen Lounge
    • The original St. Thomas Public Library plans never had an area just for teens. The current retro-fitted Teen Area is always increasing in popularity. Why not give them something to officially call their own?
  • Developing a Kid Spot, concentrating on pre-literacy skills
  • Providing more effective and expanded collection layout
  • Establishing display and audio visual areas
    • Let’s step into the 21st century, shall we? Your children are probably more proficient with technology then all of the library staff put together. We think they need their own updated displays and audio visual areas.

Main Level:  Adult Area

  • Accessible washrooms

  • Providing more open space and seating areas
    • Some of our chairs are more like medieval torture devices rather than a relaxing, comfy, community welcoming lounge. Shouldn’t libraries have places for people to socialize and feel a read?
  • Improving collection flow
    • A library collection that is easy to find things? What a thought!
  • Accommodating increased use of technology
    • The building was built in 1974. We’re pretty sure technology has come quite a way since then… Let’s have a building where you can actually plug in your laptop!
  • Achieving an appropriate balance between collection space and public seating areas
    • Let’s face it – the library needs books and materials for loan that offer a wide variety to meet everyone’s needs, but we’re sure you’d like to have a place to enjoy them. There needs to be both, without going too far in either direction.

 Upper Level: Administration, Technical Services, Local History

  • Reducing staff space from 6,000 to 2,500 square feet
    • The office staff and Technical Services folks don’t need one of the largest spaces in the library. So their swapping with the Youth Department, who add the smallest area!
  • Improving Local History area layout
    • History buffs rejoice! The George Thorman Local History Area will be getting a facelift, too!

 So, there ya go! What you can expect when the project is finished in October 2011. What do you think of changes? Let us know!


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