The library offers a glimpse of the new layout of the facilities


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Airdrie Public Library (APL) offered a preview of what is being considered in terms of its space layout in the new multi-purpose facility at the August 15 council meeting.

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The next schematic design of the facility may alter their plans depending on what it looks like, but based on what the library board now knows, APL Director Pamela Medland shared some of their intentions.

“What you see is… still at the conceptual planning level. The actual plan you’ll see on September 6 might look a little different,” Medland said.

“When we talk about programming, we usually mean the individual programs that are listed in the program brochure and offered to the public,” she said.

“We won’t determine these until the fall of 2024 after a public consultation process that helps the library board determine its strategic priorities. (That’s) exactly what we envision the different areas of the library will be for. »

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With their collection doubling from 80,000 items to 160,000 in the new facility, the library will have significantly more collection space. The main level of their space will feature books for preschoolers and young children, with collections for adults and young adults prominently displayed on the upper level.

Additionally, Medland described the main entrance as a “community lounge” type area.

“We really want a seamless transition between the multipurpose space and the library itself. We see this community living space as the main transition,” Medland said.

“We would have magazines, newspapers, and other interactive things like puzzles, art books, or coffee table books,” she said.

“This will be the welcoming face of the library, and the main service desk will be on this level.”

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The children’s department will have open programming areas as well as a playful literacy area around the edges of the space.

“(Literacy through play is) very popular right now in our current space. It’s heavily used and not big enough,” she said.

Other programming and study areas of various types will be located on both levels of the new library, she added.

“One of the main concepts in our planning is to try to address multiple uses, learning styles and flexible seating arrangements.”

Plans also include an enclosed quiet study room, single-table study areas, work areas, office spaces and group rooms, multiple open program areas, an audio and video production room and a collection consisting of Airdrie authors.

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“Reference has moved largely online, so we won’t have your traditional large reference collection, but we will have a small local history collection and be able to highlight local Airdrie authors,” Medland said.

She said the library intends to have two creative spaces with their space allocation in the new facility. One will be for the youngest and the other for teenagers and adults.

“They can be all kinds of things, but here as APL, we’ve limited our (creative spaces) to digital literacy activity,” she said.

“Everything we do is…about discovery and learning.”

Councilor Candice Kolson asked if retractable walls are being considered to allow public access to certain areas of the program after library hours.

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Medland said they are, but after-hours rentals come with challenges and aren’t always feasible.

“We are okay with that now, and our current policy would already cover that. The problem is that with our current location, they can’t really access it after hours without staff, so it becomes very costly for us,” she said.

“For all intents and purposes, we really rent out our rooms during (library) opening hours.”

She added that the library is trying to make sure people can access one of their large, 100-seat program rooms on the main level after hours.

“We want the public to be able to access this large programming room after the library closes,” she said.

Retractable walls are one of the library’s wishes in the functional plan that came out last year, but much of that will depend on the cost of doing so.

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Kolson hoped cost wouldn’t be a barrier, saying it would provide plenty of opportunity.

“It could be a huge revenue generator, especially if it becomes the hub we’re hoping for, so hopefully those retractable walls aren’t that expensive,” she said.

Councilor Ron Chapman questioned the need for two elevators as the concept indicates one for the public and one for library staff.

Medland said the library board felt a staff-only elevator was needed to move materials efficiently throughout the building.

“There is no way in the current design to get library materials from the ground floor or garage where deliveries will take place, to the second floor where the highest number of stacks are,” she said.

“This means that staff and book trucks will be continuously moving up and down the staff elevator, and it is in constant use.”

A total of three elevators are envisaged in the installation. Two for the library and an additional one for Bow Valley College, which will also have space on the upper floor. The mixed-use area is largely on one level, said Michelle Lock, a community development worker, so it wouldn’t need a public elevator.

“CANA, the construction manager, is looking into whether there is a different placement of these elevators to minimize the number needed,” Lock said.

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