The Brampton Public Library is celebrating a revitalization of its busiest location, the Chinguacousy branch inside the Bramalea Civic Centre at 150 Central Park Drive. The branch re-opened to the public Aug. 1 after nearly a year and $2 million in renovations.
The two-storey building has been modernized with a recording studio, communal work spaces, and an open floorplan. Q&Q spoke with BPL CEO Rebecca Raven about the updates and the addition of a new branch that’s due to open this fall.
“We’ve expanded the number of available workspaces and the variety of workspaces. There are still lots of individual desks for people that want to come in and work alone, but now we have dedicated collaborative workspaces for groups. It’s a bit more informal.”
“The music scene in Brampton is very exciting. We have this dedicated soundproofed recording studio that people can book, and we’re right next door to the Lester B. Pearson Memorial Theatre. We’re really looking to attract a new audience with it.”
“The building is 1972 Brutalist construction with a very imposing façade. All the stacks used to be eight feet high and it didn’t have a very welcoming feel. Now the stacks have all been reduced to under four feet on the first floor, so you’ve got a direct sightline. There are actually a lot of windows in the building, you just couldn’t see them before. It’s really changed the interior atmosphere completely – it’s light, it’s bright, and it’s open.”
“We’ve added an open-access Maker Space with 3D printers, a vinyl cutter, and more. Staff is always available, but it’s a ‘go and explore’ self-directed space. Our partnership with Sheridan College and the city’s economic development department, which are part of the Maker Spaces in our branches, means we will be rolling these out across the system. We’re opening a new branch in Springdale in late fall 2017, and we’ll be expanding the Maker Space over to that branch as well.”
“The computer lab is not only for us to be able to close the door and offer computer classes in almost anything you can imagine. When it’s not in use for a class, those computers are available for the public.”
“Philosophically, libraries have always been about sharing knowledge and providing access to information. It’s just the formats we’re providing access to that are changing as time evolves. So it used to be that we are all about books – and we will certainly always be about books – but it’s the introduction of digital literacies and the equipment that students are going to need to be successful in the 21st-century learning environment that we’re shifting our focus to more and more.”
“You want to be sure that when those avid millennial library users walk through the door, they’re welcomed in a way they feel comfortable with. I think it’s an exciting feeling now when you walk through the door in this space.”