Downtown public library fully re-opens after two years of renovations

By Patrick Burles - @PatrickBurles on Twitter with files from Lara Fominoff - @LaraFominoff
July 26, 2018 - 4:24pm

LETHBRIDGE – After two years of rotating construction, renovations to the Main Branch of the Lethbridge Public Library are virtually complete.

With just a few small finishing touches left, the library re-opened the North Wing to the public Thursday, July 26, marking the completion of the final phase of the project.

“The big impetus for this project was to look at how people use a library today, and make sure that we have spaces for all the different types of people who use the library,” said Library CEO Terra Plato. “The space we open today we call our leisure space… it was designed to be a social gathering space – it also includes our technology area, our computer services. When you walk in, you notice there's not a lot of books in that space – we still have lots of books, they're in other parts of the library – but that space is meant to be filled with people. It's for programming and it's for social gathering and connecting with each other.”

Plato also noted that part of the North Wing includes a new area called the Indigenous Space.

“We're so excited because that space is meant to honour and acknowledge the history and the peoples of the land that the library and the city sit on,” said Plato. “It's the library's response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's calls to action, and so the space is really meant to be a place for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to come together and connect.”

The new area will feature a collection of materials from FNMI authors, with as much local content as possible for both children and adults. She added that the City of Lethbridge Public Arts Committee is also working on developing local Indigenous art for the space.

The total price tag for the renovations was approximately $4.5-million, with Plato saying only about $2-million was for work inside the building. The remainder, she explained, was to repair facility issues, such as their leaky roof.

Other notable improvements that library users will be able to take advantage of include a quiet study and research space, an expanded Computer Services area, a defined teen space for young adults, and a reading bar for customers to socialize and enjoy magazines and newspapers.

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