Re:News – What’s the Scoop?

You may have noticed a flyer in last Thursday, December 9th’s Elgin County Market. This full-colour, glossy newsletter is called Re:News – Your Library Revitalization Resource and the first edition was sent all over Elgin County to explain to everyone what Library Revitalization is all about.

The goal of “Re:News” is to let the community know that St. Thomas Public Library is Revitalizing, why we are doing so and what the community can expect. The first edition introduces our “Revitalization Coordinator” so people have a name to contact with questions. There is a project timeline, blurbs about the project itself, news about the Palmer donation, some of our research findings and statistics and a message from the Board chairman.

If you read Re:News – the first edition, and are curious to know more about the publication, or if you missed it and are hearing about it for the first time, please indulge me in telling you more about it.

On the front page, we are introduced to Heather Robinson, the Library Revitalization Project Coordinator. Heather is doing double duty during the Revitalization being the Project Coordinator and Children’s and Teens’ Department Head. Heather is in continuous talks and discussion with the architect – Chamberlain Architects – staff, and many other organizations and companies. Also on the front page of the publication, Heather gives a general overview of why the library is undertaking a Revitalization. Basically, the intent of the Revitalization is to develop the library as a destination, a place to be, rather than a warehouse for materials.

On page two, we thank the late Mrs. Dorothy Palmer once again for her generous $300,000 donation to the new Youth Library. It should be mentioned that the library is still fundraising for other areas of the library and hopes to raise another $100,000 by the end of March 2011. (Donations of any size are always greatly appreciate!)

Also in this section, a list of what can be expected and mandatory components of Library Revitalization.

Included in this list are:

  • More spaces for programs and services
  • An expanded teen lounge with more resources
  • More spaces of seating, studying, and socializing
  • Technology integrated throughout the library
  • More efficient staff space
  • Better access to local history resources
  • Accessible washrooms on the main floor
  • Replaced and upgraded flooring and lighting
  • New focus on open spaces and displays areas
  • Flexible, harmonious spaces using consistent flow of colour and materials

On the third page, some of the library’s research findings are presented. Not surprisingly, our research shows that all ages visit the library including those raising families, seeking employment, and searching for education resources. Parents with strollers and seniors are heavy library users, producing an increased need for accessible services. We also found some issues brought to light; noise level, collection flow, seating for both independent and group work and relaxation, and poor signage were identified as issues by the public. The Revitalization will take all of these issues into account in hopes of making every customer’s visit an enjoyable one!

On the back cover of the publication, some of the library’s flaws are acknowledged. For example, the “Brutalist” style of architecture that focuses on concrete walls making flexibility and integration of technology near impossible, inadequate public washrooms, inappropriately located staff work space, poor lighting, interrupted collection flow, uncomfortable temperatures, unreliable lighting, and half-wall safety hazards. Again, these flaws are brought to the attention of the architect and will be addressed in the final plans.

The Chairman’s Message, from Greg Grondin, St. Thomas Public Library Board Chair, speaks of the library’s Strategic Plan and how it will be incorporated into the Revitalization plan. The objectives of the Strategic Plan include:

  • Maximize the space and functionality of the current facility
  • Enhance activity and programming space
  • Establish a “Welcome”’ area
  • Address environmental concerns
  • Optimize staff functionality.

 

After reading this publication, we hope that you will begin to understand how monumental Library Revitalization is to not only the library, but the community – something St. Thomas can really be proud of. The final building plans and layout will be revealed in January 2011 and we welcome you to check them out! Also, be sure to keep an eye on the Elgin County Market in the Spring of 2011 for your next edition of Re:News – Your Library Revitalization Source which will update everyone about the construction process, progress, and plans.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email Heather, Library Revitalization Project Coordinator at hrobinson@st-thomas.library.on.ca.

– RC

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