Now that library patrons and Meaford residents have given their ‘blue sky vision’ of what the new library should look like and feel like, and what it should include, the task of sorting through hundreds of suggestions and allotting space and resources begins.
LGA Architectural Partners will be working with municipal staff, library staff, and an advisory committee to draft an initial interior and exterior design that incorporates the public input from two stakeholders engagement sessions held on Thursday, January 25, in the 10,000-square-foot space that is to be the new library in the former Foodland Building at 11 Sykes Street North in downtown Meaford by the fall of 2019.
The bare open space of what was once a grocery store did not seem to deter the public from seeing the possibilities. Lynda Stephens, for one, welcomed the opportunity to tour the space.
“I like the idea of the sessions being held in here,” she said. “It gives me a better understanding of what is possible. A new library is now a reality. This space is a good open space, a blank canvas. There are certain themes to what the public is saying today and I am confident that the architects and staff will come back to us with a plan.”
Stakeholders were invited to leave their suggestions on Post-it notes at one of six stations, to review a draft floor plan, and speak with LGA, and municipal and library staff.
LGA partner Brock James and project manager Daniel Comerford both were excited about the location of the new library.
“It’s a fantastic location. The building is the right size to meet the library’s needs and more importantly this location will not be a big change from the existing location. It’s on a very appealing lot adjacent to other civic buildings and the existing library,” said Comerford.
Visually, the location ties into the casual, pedestrian-friendly feel of Meaford’s downtown, according to James.
“I am thrilled that the municipality has chosen this location,” he said. “It’s a unique site at the entrance to the downtown area in a location that ties in naturally to the walkways along the Bighead River and Bayfield Street and to the open views of the harbour.”
Library patron Lynda Henry of Woodford, like others, came prepared with her list of recommendations.
“I am a big supporter of the library staff,” she said. “They are amazing. I came with my list of suggestions. I like the idea of leaving them on Post-it notes.”
The intent was to determine what library patrons are looking for in a library in today’s world, what type of spatial quality and character of the building they want, whether open space or enclosed nooks, amount of natural light, access to exterior green space, and functionality, according to Comerford.
“Once we have that input we will have a starting point for a design,” he said.
LGA Architectural Partners have indicated that they will have a preliminary design within two to four weeks, according to Meaford Library CEO Cathie Lee.
Photo: Municipality of Meaford residents were invited to offer their suggestions as to the design of and the services offered in the new Meaford Library slated for completion in the fall of 2019. Above: Library Community Outreach Co-ordinator Amy Solecki (left) discusses a draft floor plan with a library patron. The stakeholder engagement sessions were held in the future location of the library, in the former Foodland building on Sykes Street in downtown Meaford on January 25.