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Libraries are not obsolete: New Central Library represents growth and connection

An oval shaped building blurs by the CTrain window. As you travel underneath the building through a tunnel, you are left wondering what that building could possibly be. 

Wonder no more, that innovative building is the new Central Public Library. You might be thinking ‘why would we possibly need another library? We already have so many and a lot of people don’t even read these days.’ 

Libraries aren’t just about books and, while those are still there, libraries have so much more to offer. The money used to build the New Central Library was well spent. 

Sarah Meilleur, the project lead for the library and director of service delivery, said that the decision to build a new library didn’t come overnight, the need was identified in the 80’s. 

The original central library was built for a much smaller population and as the city has grown, so has the need for a new one. Libraries continued to get busier and have changed and grown. The current Central Library gets about 1.1 million visitors a year. 

It’s not just this new library that is being improved, all libraries are being renovated and new ones being built. 

“Those who maybe haven’t been to a library before or haven’t been in a while should come and check it out when it opens,” said Meilleur.

“Libraries are very different than they used to be. The new central library is a fantastic project, it’s on time and under budget, which is pretty significant.”

This new library will have a number of amenities that weren’t possible in the old location. With a library card – which you can get for free – you can not only borrow books, but have access to digital tech support, computers, free Wi-Fi, printing, audio and video recording studios and 30 free bookable meeting spaces.

If you’re a student, it can be a good place to work on group projects. For those with young children, the library is a great place for early literacy. 

SAIT students will be especially interested in the digital options, as they can download music and movies for free using their library card, take free courses, and will have access to Overdrive, an app that allows you to borrow and read eBooks from your phone. 

This new library will be an amazing resource with lots of potential. It serves everyone of all ages and demographics. The taxpayer dollars used to build this new library were well spent and, as Meilleur said, the library is “a place for discovery, curiosity, and connections.”

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