A have a look at Saskatoon’s new central library

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Level one will be for high volume traffic and activities. As a person goes up levels, they will be designed to be quieter, with spaces for more focused activities.

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Jillian Smith The long-awaited concept design for Saskatoon's new central library was released on May 31, 2021. The building's concept is inspired by traditional First Nations and Metis architecture. The long-awaited concept design for Saskatoon’s new central library was released on May 31, 2021. The building’s concept is inspired by traditional First Nations and Metis architecture. Photo by Rendering courtesy Saskatoon Public Library

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Saskatoon Public Libraries is offering people a better picture of what the new downtown library will be like.

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Level one will be for high-volume traffic and activities. The upper levels will be designed to be quieter, with spaces for more focused activities.

At each level, visitors can expect to see a central hub with elevators, washrooms, print and copy stations. Away from these hubs will be quieter workstations.

Feedback on the concept design for the new building came from 14 advisory committees with 122 participants; the library also ran 105 online surveys, and 33 people took part in virtual public meetings. There were also 83 new connections on splconnect.ca, according to staff.

The library released two new reports providing updates on Tuesday.

“People will call this building home,” stated some feedback in one report.

“I love the incorporation of the natural environment,” another person said.

Another called on SPL to avoid making the new building “too fancy so that it doesn’t feel welcoming to everyone.”

SPL says it heard a lot of feedback about washrooms, which will be gender-neutral. The stalls will have closed rooms to allow individual privacy, and universal washrooms will be available for people with accessibility issues or who might not be comfortable in a gender-neutral washroom.

Accessible shelving is also a feature the new central library will have, with minimum and maximum heights so people of all ability and mobility levels will be able to grab books without needing help.

Level one will have a holds pick-up area and new, high-demand collection, as well as washrooms, a coffee shop and a theatre.

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The second level will have the children’s collection, the teen collection and “creation and innovation spaces.” Based on feedback, the children’s collection is separated from the rest of the library.

The adult non-fiction collection and community services will be on the third level.

Level four will house the adult fiction collection, the local history room, the gallery and a local storytelling and learning circle area. The storytelling and learning circle area will include a natural gas fireplace and two-tiered seating — which was added because of feedback from the public.

SPL says it will do another round of consultations in January before coming up with the final design.

Construction is set for 2022, and the building is slated to open in 2026.

  1. The long-awaited concept design for Saskatoon's new central library was released on May 31, 2021. (Rendering courtesy Saskatoon Public Library)

    Concept design unveiled for Saskatoon’s new central library

  2. Alfred Waugh of Formline Architecture has been selected to lead the team responsible for designing the Saskatoon Public Library's new downtown branch. Photo submitted to the Saskatoon StarPhoenix by the Saskatoon Public Library.

    Indigenous firm chosen to design New Central Library

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