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Haliburton County Public Library Wilberforce Branch

“Although it appears to be stand-alone, the library is actually fulfilling a number of community functions. The Highlands East Council meets at the library -they meet on Mondays a day the library has no operating hours. Prior to the library being built they were meeting in a community centre on folding tables. The building was designed so that there could be access to washrooms and water
for the community garden that shares the same property.

Because the library space and hours were expanded, pre-school programming in partnership with the Ontario Early Years Centre can take place thus improving early literacy and school readiness in the area. Also due to expanded space, active living can be promoted with the addition of a yoga class at the library. Living rurally can be very isolating for a number of different sectors of the population. The new library was built with a kitchen facility and because of that staff are able to offer coffee and snacks with some programming. Combining a Lego Club with adult Coffee and Colouring means that adults can interact in a group activity while their kids do the same.

In a small community where resources are limited the library can represent a central gathering space that meets a large cross-section of the community’s needs.” [from the Haliburton County Public Library award submission document]

Ontario Library Association
2016 New Library Building Award Winner

Haliburton County Public Library

“Above and beyond the goals typical of a library project serving a small community, this project also had high expectations for environmental responsibility while keeping construction costs in line with what a small community can afford to build.

Early on the library committee aligned itself with Fleming College’s Sustainable Building Design & Construction program, of which I was Program Coordinator and lead designer. The program is unique within the educational system as it provides college level students with hands on training and experience on a real project with real partner dollars. The program specializes in cutting edge, environmentally sustainable building methods and has built many similar projects in the surrounding small communities.” [from the Architect’s Statement: Patrick Marcotte]

librarian“This library demonstrates a strong focus on sustainable building efforts. Energy efficient materials and methods are paired with a natural look and feel that makes it fit in the landscape. The interior has a cozy, cottage-like feel. The windows let in lots of light as well as attractive views of the natural surroundings. The wattle-and-daube exposure and truth windows showing straw bale construction stages add a nice historical touch. Increased opportunities for programming in particular, and community engagement overall, speak well for the community’s future.” [from a Library Jury Member]

Architect“This building is a testament to the design ingenuity of a small community. Working with limited resources and program, the community has developed a building that shows leadership on climate change in a design that reflects the community. The dual duty of meeting spaces, combined with natural light and siting create a community icon that the people of Haliburton can be proud of, for generations. The community realized the value of the library space as a centre of learning and designed a space that educates, provides opportunities to gather and stimulate the local economy.”  [from an Architect Jury Member]

See the complete award submission document for the Haliburton County Public Library Wilberforce Branch for a wealth of additional material: photos, statements from the Library and the architect, floor plans, and costing information.

The 2016 OLA New Library Building Award WinnersCentennial College Ashtonbee Campus Renewal & LibraryToronto Public Library Fort York Branch LibraryHaliburton County Public Library Wilberforce BranchRyerson University Student Learning CentreToronto Public Library Scarborough Civic Centre Branch.

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