Modernization of Central Library wraps up Catalyst Committee information sessions

The fourth and final public information session for the Catalyst Committee was held on Thursday, and it drew the biggest crowd.

The last session focused on a discussion around the modernization of the Central Library.

The current library was built in the early ’60s and has since faced multiple infrastructure issues, such as:

  • Curtain wall detailing
  • Insulated without modern air/vapour barriers
  • Thermal bridging of structural elements
  • Single or early double-glazed window modules
  • Inadequate roof slopes on flat roofs
  • Architectural standards and construction practices have changed and improved dramatically
  • Building is difficult to retrofit

Over the past decade, over $3.2 million has been spent on necessary building maintenance.

Infrasturue isn’t the only problem the library faces as it also has accessibility issues:

  • Lots of dark corners and dead ends
  • Elevator and escalators break down, leaving people with mobility issues stranded
  • • Limited availability for users to create the spaces they require such as a low-distraction, quiet environment
  • • Access to the children’s area inconvenient for strollers
  • • No independent access for people with mobility issues to the film theatre screenings when the library is closed

Overall, the problem with the Central Library has been identified as it was built to just be a library and not the community space is has become.

Sean Quinlan, Board Chair of the Regina Public Library, said that the board is recommending that they build a new facility on the existing site of the Central Library.

“We’ve determined it’s much more cost efficient to build a new building rather than try to bring it up to code. We have to look at a building not only for today, but we have a look at the next 50, 60 years, and that is where a new building makes a lot of sense.”

As for what’s needed to meet the needs of the community, approximately double the amount of square footage to adequately accommodate:

  • Collections
  • Programming
  • Work/study
  • RPL Film Theatre
  • Dunlop Art Gallery
  • Prairie History Room
  • Specialized services
  • Technology

Quinlan said a new library would help them expand the programs they can offer even more.

“A new library would help us revitalize downtown, would support the principles of reconciliation, would be providing bascially free services to the 249,000 citizens of Regina.”

Co-Chair of the Committee, Councillor Bob Hawkins said that people were in favour of a new library; however, there were discussions about the location during the session.

“On one side, people who want a new library building, and on the other side, people who would like to see some renovation of this library; I heard from most but not all presentations that they liked the current location of the library.”

The Central Library averages about 470,000 visits per year. If changes are made, the new library would add at least an additional 250,000 visits.

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