The final design for Saskatoon’s new central library has been released after nearly four years of planning.
Construction of the new central library site is scheduled to begin next spring, and Saskatoon Public Library (SPL) plans to open the facility in 2026 at 321 2nd Ave N.
Inspired by Indigenous cultures and architecture, the library will support a wide range of activities for all ages and ability levels. It is designed to support world-class library services in the community for decades.
The $134-million project remains on track, according to SPL.
“The overall goal was to, first of all, build a library with Saskatoon, not for Saskatoon. We wanted it to be a flagship for reconciliation, a model for accessibility and sustainability. Those are the big pillars of the vision,” said Carol Cooley, CEO of Saskatoon Public Library.
The Frances Morrison Central Library, Saskatoon’s current central library, is failing to meet the demands of the community it serves. The building is non-compliant with significant building codes including fire, mechanical, electrical and accessibility. A renovation would result in smaller collections and less space in an already over-crowded area.
According to SPL, the new central library will change lives through community connections, engagement and inclusivity. It will include spaces for a larger collection of library materials, expanded programming opportunities, a mix of animated and quiet areas, and indoor and outdoor spaces. There will also be a community kitchen, innovation labs with audio and video recording studios, and 3D printers.
Cooley explains that with any large community programs, comes skeptics.
“That is definitely to be expected. I think when they see the project, the impact it has on the downtown core, what’s available to them, I think we will see that people will support the project and enjoy using the facility.”
SPL envisions a facility that will help reduce inequality and social isolation in Saskatoon.
“The next steps are we are going to be prequalifying for construction, and then tendering for construction and remediation in the spring so we can start construction in the spring. And then we’ve got projects within projects, we have to select furniture and fixtures and equipment to go into the building, so there’s lots of work left to do.”
Cooley extends her thanks to the citizens of Saskatoon for participating in the design process and offering feedback.
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