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  #21  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2008, 2:58 PM
hfx_chris hfx_chris is offline
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The powerpoint presentation further down that page is actually a good read, and makes me excited about the new library - despite the location.
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  #22  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2008, 8:52 PM
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The plans sound good but they are very high-level at this point. The whole process is moving very slowly, unfortunately.

I do think the downtown area needs a major public building with lots of indoor space. Large lobby, seating areas, conference rooms, an auditorium, etc. The park is okay I guess.

If I were laying out this site I would probably put the library where the park is, at the end of Clyde, and then put a major commercial development by SGR and residential on the other side. With the South Park/Brenton tower and two infill lots on Clyde this area is set to be much more built up in a few years. At any rate, this scenario isn't going to happen, and who knows how long it will be before the Clyde Street lots are filled in? The first lot should have been developed separately several years ago.
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  #23  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2008, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by hfx_chris View Post
Looks like they're having some sort of open house tonight (Monday June 2nd) at 7pm, Lord Nelson Hotel.

http://www.halifaxpubliclibraries.ca.../view/174/366/
If you look at the Powerpoint presentation at the site, it is clear that staff have gathered every possible feature from every other library in North America and added it to their wish list. I would hate to think what the cost would be for everything there -- an auditorium, theater, gallery, meeting rooms, outdoor spaces, etc etc. Plus LEED Silver which will add significantly to construction costs. These people need a serious reality check.
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  #24  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2008, 12:31 AM
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If I were laying out this site I would probably put the library where the park is, at the end of Clyde, and then put a major commercial development by SGR and residential on the other side. With the South Park/Brenton tower and two infill lots on Clyde this area is set to be much more built up in a few years. At any rate, this scenario isn't going to happen, and who knows how long it will be before the Clyde Street lots are filled in? The first lot should have been developed separately several years ago.
Unfortunately Judith Hare's library dreams are like a runaway train and the only thing that will derail them is a lack of funds to build everything on her palatial wish list. I agree with you regarding the location, even though it means sacrificing the small park, which is really no loss, but nothing will keep her from the corner of SGR. I laugh reading the results of their survey, since they obviously only surveyed people who use the current library and not the public at large, for whom many the library is totally irrelevant. That alone ought to call into question her gold-plated dreams. The survey results mention the need for a coffee shop multiple times, as if that was a vital service. Two questions: do they let people bring food and drink into the library, and if so, why? Seems to me that ought to be strictly off limits. Second: at the new site you have a Starbucks opposite on one corner and a Second Cup opposite on another corner. So I suppose given that there is no Tim Horton's within 100 ft there may be a market, but really... how much coffee do you need?
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  #25  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2008, 4:45 PM
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The Keshen Goodman library in Clayton Park has a little coffee shop that seems to do quite well. I think they want to re-create that at this location. However, the KG library is in the middle of nowhere, it doesn't have 20 different coffee shops within a 5 minute walk of it, unlike the SGR library.

To answer the question on whether or not food or drinks are allowed, they are not. I believe KG gets around this by saying you can only consume what you buy in the cafe area.
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  #26  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2008, 8:23 PM
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Yes, the presentation seems to be a pipedream, I don't know what kind of budget there is for this thing, but what they think they can accomplish doesn't match up with the amount of money it will likely cost.

I've given up on this area for being anything spectacular, South Park and Brenton was a good suprise.
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  #27  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2008, 10:13 PM
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Jeez! What's with all the pessimism? What's wrong with having great dreams, and waiting and pushing them until they come to fruition? The library they are talking about is exactly what this city needs. Sure, maybe not everyone uses the library, but the space around the building if designed well would become a new public plaza that would be full of people. Think of the library in Vancouver. We could have something of that caliber. I truly believe that.

Here's todays Herald article.

Sneak peek at library concept
Public meeting reveals proposed plans for new facility
By DAVENE JEFFREY Staff Reporter
Tue. Jun 3 - 6:57 PM

Council will get a look later this month at what the public wants in a new central library.

And it appears that folks who use the present main branch on Spring Garden Road want lots — lots of books, lots of seating, lots of meeting rooms and lots and lots of computers.

The proposed concept for the new library was revealed to the public Monday evening in a meeting room in the Lord Nelson Hotel.

"This is a building that is going to be built for the long term," said urban planner Robert Marshall of the international HOK Planning Group.

He could not say how much the proposed new facility and services would cost, but a capital cost report should be ready to present to council at the same time as the library concept report, he said.

Besides being a sustainable and fully accessible building and a landmark, the new library would have an interior designed to be flexible to meet future needs, Mr. Marshall said.

Most of the 50-odd citizens who attended the meeting appeared to be eager for the many new features and services the proposal calls for. Word of parking space for baby strollers drew a laugh and a round of applause from the crowd.

But at least two pragmatists in the audience warned the planning team that they had better have a scaled-down backup plan.

"I don’t want to be pessimistic . . . but this may be a bridge too far for the present council, with several councillors who never, ever will cross that bridge," Alan Ruffman said.

Many councillors who represent districts off the peninsula will never OK the kind of money the new library, at more than 100,000 square feet, would likely call for, Mr. Ruffman said.

A retired man, who after the meeting refused to give his name, urged the team to maintain the integrity of the design. But picking up on Mr. Ruffman’s idea of a Plan B, the man urged the group to consider Plan E and Plan F, too.

Planning student Jeff Haggett urged the naysayers to start thinking differently.

"It’s time for better, now," he said.

"I’m encouraging not just people who are trying to be realistic, but also those of us who want to see Halifax become better and improve for the sake of the people, of ourselves and our families, to work together as an entire municipal district in supporting this plan’s vision," Mr. Haggett said after the meeting.

"They have shown us something that the whole town can get excited about."

The public consultation process began in February and included meetings and surveys. Mr. Haggett said he has the sense that the library administration and the HOK Planning Group have listened to what people want in the building.

"I’m inspired," he said.

The group will present its library concept to council at its regular meeting on June 24. The proposal is also available online on the Halifax Public Libraries website.

( djeffrey@herald.ca)
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  #28  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2008, 12:08 AM
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I don't think the requirements are that outlandish. If I remember correctly, the auditorium is only 250 seats, for example.

Budgets will determine what this turns into but I think this should be a showcase project for the city, which is something we haven't seen for a very long time. There is a need for a new library, some interesting new architecture, more cultural amenities in general, and some new indoor and outdoor public space in downtown Halifax.
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  #29  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2008, 1:18 PM
hfx_chris hfx_chris is offline
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According to the website, it looks like they've chosen the "Partnership of Culture and Learning" vision over the two other proposed visions:

http://www.halifaxpubliclibraries.ca.../view/174/366/

Some interesting new stuff up on the site. As mentioned, it does all seem very pie in the sky, but it doesn't hurt to think big. And their big thinking makes me excited
This was the vision I was secretly hoping for. This library, even if they accomplish a quarter of what they want to do, would be a major asset to the Spring Garden area, a real cultural centre that serves the needs of the people. Obviously retail would have been the best thing for this location, but in lieu of that a thriving, cultural development is much preferable to just a simple library.
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  #30  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2008, 11:18 AM
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Proposed Library To Cost $42 Million

http://thechronicleherald.ca/Metro/1063784.html

Quote:
New 'flagship’ library could cost $42 million

By DAVENE JEFFREY Staff Reporter
Tue. Jun 24 - 5:45 AM

Halifax’s proposed central library will cost just over $42 million.

"It’s going to have a lot more than we have now," said Coun. Dawn Sloane (Halifax Downtown). "So, of course, it’s going to come with a steep price. And it’s something that is desperately needed."

The plan for the new facility came following a series of public meetings, which concluded earlier this month.

"This is what the citizens have said they want," Ms. Sloane said.

The cost analysis was prepared by Hanscomb Consultants Ltd., which estimates that the building will cost $321.60 per square foot.

At that rate, the basic cost of the building — slightly more than $35 million — includes green certification, site development and construction allowances. The addition of fixtures, furniture and equipment increases the total to $42.03 million.

Those numbers, along with municipal staff’s recommendation to move forward with the facility by approving the library in principal, will be put to council’s session of the committee of the whole today.

The proposed building area is 108,896 square feet. The existing main branch is 38,000 square feet.

Earlier this month, consultants said they were able to reduce the initial proposed size of the building partly by designing the interior to be flexible to allow for changes down the road.

The new facility would offer many new services, including a cafe, a 250-seat auditorium, meeting rooms and a new technology centre.

Many services that the library now offers would expand in the new building. There will be more computers, increased seating, longer hours and expanded adult, teen and children’s collections.

"It’s going to be the flagship library for our municipality," Ms. Sloane said.

Officials have said the proposed facility will not fit on the current site of the main branch on Spring Garden Road. Instead, a new central library would be built on land almost directly across the street.

Council is in the midst of negotiating a land swap with the province to acquire a lot at the corner of Spring Garden Road and Queen Street for the new library.

The report also recommends that council get staff to begin looking at funding options and to develop a financial plan.

Ms. Sloane would like to see a fundraising campaign begin as soon as council gives the go-ahead.

"We’ve heard from citizens that they want this, and some of them are willing to contribute. So, let’s get going."

Ms. Sloane said she hopes that councillors who represent districts off peninsular Halifax will OK the high price tag. "They’ve got to realize that, at one point in time, their citizens will be using this also."

This is an excessive cost for a facility that only a small minority will ever use. They need to go back to the drawing board and come up with something more realistic..
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  #31  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2008, 12:01 PM
hfx_chris hfx_chris is offline
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I agree the cost is a little surprising, but you have to realize this isn't just a room with books and tables, it's more than just a library. Saying this is something a "small minority" would ever use is incorrect.
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  #32  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2008, 1:54 PM
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Originally Posted by hfx_chris View Post
Saying this is something a "small minority" would ever use is incorrect.

Prove me wrong in that case. I can tell you that I have not set foot in the existing facility for at least 15 years and I expect that most HRM ratepayers could say the same. Brick-and-mortar libraries are rapidly becoming obsolete and this one is no different. This is nothing more than a monument to the ego of chief librarian Judith Hare who seems to have a Svengali-like grip over some in council. A cafe? Why? I seem to recall seeing one or two of those nearby on SGR. An auditorium? I was in a nice one right next door at Daltech/TUNS not long ago; why do we need another? I hate to say it, but I have a very strong sense that this is one of those things that appeals greatly to the handful of devotees who are regulars there right now, the same bunch who listen religiously to CBC Radio and go to the symphony. But they are a very small minority within HRM and $42 mil is a ridiculous price to pay for a facility that appeals to a relatively small number of citizens and which will also have huge operating costs associated with it.

Would $42 mil go very far to fix our Transit system? I think so.
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  #33  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2008, 2:33 PM
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Prove me wrong in that case. I can tell you that I have not set foot in the existing facility for at least 15 years and I expect that most HRM ratepayers could say the same. Brick-and-mortar libraries are rapidly becoming obsolete and this one is no different. This is nothing more than a monument to the ego of chief librarian Judith Hare who seems to have a Svengali-like grip over some in council. A cafe? Why? I seem to recall seeing one or two of those nearby on SGR. An auditorium? I was in a nice one right next door at Daltech/TUNS not long ago; why do we need another? I hate to say it, but I have a very strong sense that this is one of those things that appeals greatly to the handful of devotees who are regulars there right now, the same bunch who listen religiously to CBC Radio and go to the symphony. But they are a very small minority within HRM and $42 mil is a ridiculous price to pay for a facility that appeals to a relatively small number of citizens and which will also have huge operating costs associated with it.

Would $42 mil go very far to fix our Transit system? I think so.
Lack of vision.
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  #34  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2008, 3:33 PM
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Prove me wrong in that case. I can tell you that I have not set foot in the existing facility for at least 15 years and I expect that most HRM ratepayers could say the same. Brick-and-mortar libraries are rapidly becoming obsolete and this one is no different.
I used to work in a library, Alderney Gate specifically. Libraries are about much more than just the physical collection, they're also a meeting place, a place to relax, a place to read a magazine or newspaper, a place to do research (and yes a lot of kids still do research at libraries), a place to learn (libraries have computer courses, they do English as a second language courses). Add to this the children's programs, such as story readings, puppet shows, things for school age kids, preschool kids, babies, etc. The only library I can speak from experience about is Alderney, and they have a very dedicated group in the children's department who spent a lot of time putting together and running educational and learning programs for children, and the number of parents who brought their kids in for these was always huge. The existing SGR library just doesn't have the space for much of this. Add extra meeting space and a small auditorium and you're just enhancing the important role this library will play in the community.

As I said before, libraries are much more than just a dusty collection of books with a bunch of tables and librarians telling people to shush like we see in the movies. It's true I have no hard proof to prove you wrong, all I have is my experience working at one library which excelled in providing services to the community above and beyond the traditional library services, and from that experience I can tell you the only thing becoming obsolete is the traditional style library, such as the existing SGR library, but libraries which offer other services (and I keep using Alderney as my example for obvious reasons) are probably becoming more important in our communities than ever.

You say this project will just appeal to the "handful" of devotees. I'll agree there are a number of "regulars" in every library, but the number of people who would come in looking for something and tell us they've never been in a library before was big, much larger than you seem to think.
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  #35  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2008, 3:54 PM
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For 10 months of the year those kids are supposed to be in school. If they are pre-school then it sounds like subsidized daycare to me and I don't see that as a role for a library or for tax dollars. Obviously I'm playing devil's advocate to some degree but the problem comes back to the basic question of what limits were placed on the library staff when they were designing what this place was to be. $42 million can solve a lot of issues in this town and this seems woefully out of step with other more pressing priorities.
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  #36  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2008, 4:09 PM
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It is fairly expensive but then again I see this as potentially much more than just a library. There is practically no indoor public space downtown and this will function as both a library and more generally as a kind of community centre and meeting place.

Not many people go to the current downtown library but that is partly because it is so lacking and offers very little that other suburban branches do not.

The Keshen Goodman seems to have been a success. It cost something like $10-12M and serves only Clayton Park.

I agree that the cafe seems pointless but then again that part of the development would likely pay for itself if they lease it out to Tim Horton's or whatever. Mostly I think it's too bad they didn't go further in including more commercial space that could be leased and would offset operating costs.

This is a little extravagant but not hugely so, and I think it's time we built something beyond the bare minimum.
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  #37  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2008, 4:10 PM
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I'm curious to know what will happen to the old library if it is moved across the street?
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  #38  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2008, 4:17 PM
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I'd personally like to see it reused as a cultural institution. It could be turned into municipal archives and a museum with a large area (e.g. centre of main floor) turned into a gallery to showcase local artwork and other exhibits.
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  #39  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2008, 5:13 PM
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I'm curious to know what will happen to the old library if it is moved across the street?
Rather than the archive/museum thing, which wouldn't be very vibrant, I wonder if it couldn't be used as a new performing arts center? You would have to pretty much gut the interior but that is likely regardless. It has high ceilings and if you could fit 1500-2000 seats in there somehow you'd have an ideal symphony hall/concert/theater/performing arts venue right in the downtown. I dunno if the building would accommodate that at 38000 sq ft though.
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  #40  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2008, 5:31 PM
hfx_chris hfx_chris is offline
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
Rather than the archive/museum thing, which wouldn't be very vibrant, I wonder if it couldn't be used as a new performing arts center? You would have to pretty much gut the interior but that is likely regardless. It has high ceilings and if you could fit 1500-2000 seats in there somehow you'd have an ideal symphony hall/concert/theater/performing arts venue right in the downtown. I dunno if the building would accommodate that at 38000 sq ft though.
I recall suggesting that myself once, and I still agree that would make an excellent performing arts centre, assuming as you said the building could accommodate it.
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