Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Regina Central Library due for reno/replacement

In 2004, a task force recommended that Regina close three of its libraries. Glen Elm, Connaught, and Prince of Wales had either structural problems, poor attendance, or both. Regina had the second-highest per capita spending on materials, and on libraries as a whole, in all of Canada. Unfunded pension liabilities were enormous. And, even if three branches were closed, the city would still have the same libraries per capita as other western cities.

But, none of that happened. In 2009, all the libraries stated for closure still remain. Connaught is getting a new basement, an expansion, and a top-to-bottom renovation. But the renovation or replacement of the Central branch will be Regina libraries' biggest capital project in 50 years. They installed a chiller recently for about $1 million, but the board chair reports that pieces of the building have actually fallen off. Yet, instead of a reno, there's talk about a replacement that is twice the current size. Let's hope the bill doesn't get twice as high.

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