Residents want bigger centrally located library; survey
Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 10:58 am
Consultations suggest Airdronians want a bigger, centrally located library.
Six months ago, the Airdrie Public Library (APL) began a consultation process with residents about what they want in a new facility.
The library shared the findings from that consultation on Nov. 28, at their open house.
“In a sense, what the public has told us is very similar to what has been in the plan for the last few years,” said Jon Hartenberger, principal with HarGroup Research and Consultation, the company that completed the consultation for the library.
Top priority on the list from the public is more space.
“I really want a bigger space with more programs for kids preschool age and up,” said Tara Antosh, a resident who attended the open house.
She added she thought the library was small when she moved to Airdrie in 2006 and said the need for more space has only become greater as Airdrie’s population has increased.
“The library needs to grow and continue to grow,” she said.
“I’m absolutely thrilled with the prospect of having a bigger, better facility for Airdrie,” said 13-year Airdrie resident Bruce Peters.
The numbers indicate increased library use with annual visits growing from 143,318 in 2011 to 146,809 in 2012, a difference of 3,491. Program attendance has also increased from 2011 to 2012, when 25,271 individuals utilized the library’s programs.
“Youth (programs) was a real focus from what we heard from the public,” he said of Airdrie in particular.
Hartenberger said the results of the consultation indicate a much higher representation of children and youth in Airdrie than compared with Alberta as a whole.
“Youth programs make sense for Airdrie,” he said.
The results also indicated a very high satisfaction with the library’s services with nearly 100 per cent of respondents indicating they were either very satisfied or satisfied with the library.
“We get the sense that some would want a little more than what is provided,” Hartenberger said.
The results indicate the library’s central location is important to respondents.
“Most people want it to be located downtown,” he said, adding the downtown area is easily accessible from anywhere in the city.
He said the results indicate respondents want the building to include an exterior green space, have access to natural light and have a unique street presence. Participants indicated they would like key characteristics of Airdrie included in the design, including the prairie and agricultural history, the scenic, open sky views, Nose Creek, which runs throughout the city.
They also said they wanted the library to have a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
The respondants also indicated they would like the new library to include quiet study spaces, activity rooms where users can engage in one another, and social spaces.
Hartenberger suggested quiet spaces could include comfortable furniture and a fireplace, along with quiet nooks or study rooms.
“The community felt all three areas were important to have in the library,” he said.
“To serve the community right now, the facility should be about 35,000 square feet,” he said, adding the current facility is closer to 10,000 square feet.
Hartenberger said there are two main options they are considering: creating a library of about 40,000 square feet to serve the population now and plan for an addition in four to six years, or build for the future and construct a 50,000-square-foot facility. See Related story on page 20. Residents who want to participate can access the survey at www.airdriepubliclibrary.com