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This article was published 29/6/2015 (725 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
One of Winnipeg’s oldest libraries celebrated its 100th anniversary last month.
The Cornish Library (20 West Gate) located in Armstrong Point opened on June 15, 1915.
The date was marked with performances from magicians and a barbershop quartet, century-old craft activities, croquet on the front lawn and historic displays. Winnipeg Library Services also unveiled the preliminary architectural plans for a $2.5-million renovation.
"It was a pretty exciting week for us," said Rick Walker, manager of library services. "Both (the Cornish Library and St. John’s Library) are slated for some renovations. One of the primary focuses is to improve the accessibility of the buildings."
The City of Winnipeg has committed $1.25 million to both the Cornish Library and St. John’s Library, which is also celebrating its centennial this year, for renovations and the Winnipeg Library Foundation is hoping to raise enough money to match that investment.
According to Walker, renovations at the Cornish Library will include cosmetic enhancements such as new carpeting and paint, infrastructure improvements to increase energy efficiency, and improved accessibility in the form of a new elevator connecting the first and second floors.
"They were built in a different time when issues of accessibility were not as important as they are today," Walker said, adding that details about exactly where the elevator will go are still being worked out.
"We’re at early days with the architect, so we’re trying to do it so it will be internal to the library," he said.
The Cornish Library will also undergo an expansion to improve the function of programming spaces within the historic building. Walker said the library was designed in an era when libraries were primarily places for books and for study. Today the city’s libraries are very active community places.
The city is working with an architect to renovate the lower programming level and add a glass reading room to the northeast corner of the building.
The addition will not change the historic look and feel of the building in the front but will add a contemporary flavour to the back and also increase the visibility of the centre to vehicle and pedestrian traffic on the Maryland Bridge. Over the next few months the design will be finalized.
Construction is not expected to start until sometime in 2016.
"They certainly are 100-year-old buildings and have not had a major renovation since they were built and that certainly is our goal here to undertake a major renovation to make these buildings more accessible, more welcoming, and more responsive to the needs of library users today, while respecting that historical character," Walker said.
For more information go to www.winnipeglibraryfoundation.ca or call 204-989-2060.