City unveils new design for library
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This article was published 03/05/2022 (402 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The City of Brandon is asking for the public’s input on a new design for the Western Manitoba Regional Library’s downtown branch.
The new design, which was drawn up by Winnipeg-based firm f-BLOK architecture, is meant to turn the library into more of a “cultural hub” for Westman residents, according to a Tuesday news release from the city.
If the project moves forward, the library will carve out some space for the Brandon General Museum and Archives (BGMA) and build better access to the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba (AGSM) on the second floor, with common areas that link all these facilities together.
According to concept art circulated by the city Tuesday, the redesign would also involve installing a new street-level main entrance, new windows to better showcase both floors and a storefront location to highlight the BGMA’s current exhibits.
“One thing that I really love is having street access right onto Rosser, having that large glass façade,” WMRL’s acting director of library services Erika Martin said on Tuesday. “Right now when you drive by, there’s nothing that screams ‘library’ from the street. So actually having that curbside appeal will be really nice.”
This redesign project was initiated last fall through a partnership between the city, the Western Manitoba Regional Library, the AGSM and the BGMA.
However, Martin told the Sun the project was in the works even before that, with the WMRL consulting members of the public online throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We did some group sessions over [Microsoft] Teams during COVID, we did a large survey asking for public input on the location of the library … if people wanted it renovated, if they had any concerns about the library space, what did they like about it, not like about it,” she said.
“So [this project] stemmed from that, really.”
The current public engagement period of the library redesign project will be open until June 30.
Anyone looking to provide their feedback can do so by taking part in a survey that’s set up on the city’s official website (brandon.ca), or by visiting the WMRL, AGSM or BGMA in person.
While Martin isn’t sure when the renovations will officially get underway, she’s hoping the changes will eventually take root and turn the WMRL’s downtown Brandon branch into a major tourist destination, like the Calgary Public Library.
“Some people may be a little worried about the size, but I think that we can really make an efficient use of space down here,” she said.
“I think there’s a lot of ways to make this place really beautiful and still offer all the great services we have right now.”
Updated on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 9:52 PM CDT: Adds full story