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Updates and News

September 13, 2016

Some of Your Questions Answered

Thank you for the questions and comments you submitted during our public consultations from August 10-16 on the plans for the Central Branch renovations. The plans for the exterior have now been approved by Kingston City Council and our heritage permit has been granted. We are finalizing the details for the interior floor plans and working on design items such as colours, furniture and flooring. Many of the questions we received during the consultations were about interior items, and we are pleased to answer some of them below. Some of them have already been answered in our frequently asked question section, and we’ll update that to add these responses this week. Have a question that hasn’t been answered? Email us at centralreno@kfpl.ca or fill out our web form.

How many computers will be in the building?

There will be roughly the same number of computers that we have now.

As is our current practice, we will have computers in the adult, teen and children’s sections of the building. We are currently planning for 6 adult computers on the first floor in the marketplace. There are an additional 4 adult computers on the second floor in the non-fiction learning commons, located near the local history and genealogy area.

Two computers will be located in the children’s area, as well as some iPads loaded with apps that build literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills.

The teen area will have three computers. 

In planning for the number of computers, we look at current and anticipated usage and best practices for the numbers of computers per capita. We do have the ability to add additional computers if there is demand when the branch opens.

Use of our wireless Internet with patrons’ personal devices such as smartphones and laptops has grown, while demand for library computers has decreased. We are increasing the spaces where people will be able to plug in easily and work comfortably using their own devices.

Why isn’t the program room closer to the children’s collection? Is it safe to have the 3D printers in the same room as the children’s programs?

The enclosed programming space is going to serve people of all ages, not just children.  This makes placement of the space a little tricky, as while we want it close to the children’s area to encourage children and caregivers to use the children’s area and to borrow materials, we also don’t want crowds of people having to travel through our children’s area on their way to and from adult or teen programs. We also want to highlight some of the programs happening in the library to encourage others to join in or find out more information, so we wanted it to be as visible as possible, while minimizing the costs involved in constructing walls. We believe we have achieved that with the placement of the program space.

We are trying to make our spaces as flexible as possible. We will be able to separate the programming space into two smaller spaces with a moveable partition, allowing us to run two programs simultaneously or offer one larger program. Any equipment in the room that could pose a health and safety concern to members of the public, such as the 3D printers, will be properly secured.

Is there a service desk on the second floor? What about staffing for the children’s area? There are no sightlines from the main desk to the children’s area.

Yes! There is a service desk on the second floor. It will be located at the top of the new stairs, close to the elevator.  We have positioned it here so that staff can greet patrons as they arrive on the second floor and will be able to assist them in finding what they are looking for.  Its location at the threshold of the non-fiction and learning commons area also ensures there will be less disruption to people trying to study quietly when library staff are assisting other patrons.

There is a service point noted on the plans between the adult fiction and children’s area. A staff member will use this desk as their base to serve patrons in both of these areas. There is another service point located just outside the teen area that will serve the marketplace and teen area. These service points are in addition to the main desk near the entrance.

September 7, 2016

Heritage Approval Granted

A heritage permit for the Central Branch Renovations project was granted by Kingston City Council at its meeting on September 6, 2016. At the meeting, City Planning staff provided a report to Council, and KFPL board member and chair of the Central Branch Renovation Committee Monica Stewart, as well as Dr. Carl Bray from Bray Heritage and Ms. Susan Croswell from HDR Inc., the Library’s architectural consultant, spoke about the much-needed improvements to the building. You can view the delegation presentation in its entirety, as an archived recording will be posted on the City’s website.

The 1978 red brick building at 130 Johnson is designated as a historically important property, and sits on the edge of the Old Sydenham Heritage Conservation District (HCD), which is covered under the Old Sydenham Heritage Conservation District Plan. Due to this designation, alterations to the building have to conform to the guidelines of the plan. While, under these guidelines, we were not able to implement the original design featuring an expansive glass front with the arched windows outlined behind it, we will be able to implement many new features that greatly improve accessibility, improve the current problems with ice and snow falling on the walkway below, and make the building more energy efficient.

The main public entrance will be relocated one bay to the west, which will allow for better security when rooms are being used for community meetings after the library is closed. The corner parkette will be re-designed to offer a place to rest on a busy corner under the 40-year-old Honey Locust tree. The Wilson Room will be given a facelift, and the large 2nd floor bay window (the current foyer in front of the Wilson Room) will be re-constructed to deal with water and ice run-off problems. The new design of this window, featuring a large translucent piece of glass including “Public Library” signage, will mimic the current brick panel and signage but will allow for better views of the City and Lake Ontario for the new, additional meeting room that will be created in this space.

Thank you to the many patrons and interested community members who came out to our recent community sessions or viewed the proposed designs and provided comments. All comments have been recorded and will be considered as we move forward with the project. With the heritage permit now in place, we are now able to move the project forward on budget and on schedule. Next steps will include more detailed plans, applications for building and site plan approvals, tendering of the project and the hiring of a general contractor. Stay tuned!

September 1, 2016

Next Steps for the Central Branch Design

During our public consultation from August 10-16th, we received many comments and 149 votes on the exterior design concepts from library patrons, members of the Heritage Kingston committee, and other interested parties.

We have reviewed all of the comments, questions and concerns and are moving forward with an application for a heritage permit. This application will go to Kingston City Council at their meeting on September 6th. A heritage permit is required as the Central Branch is a designated property under the Ontario Heritage Act and because the branch is located in the Old Sydenham Heritage Conservation District (HCD) and noted as a significant building in the HCD.

Over the past two weeks, we have been working very closely with the City's planning department to come up with a balanced solution that will fulfill the needs of a modern library and, at the same time, conform to the guidelines of the Old Sydenham HCD plan. 

Feedback and guidance received from the planning department have resulted in a decision to go forward with a design that aligns with our location in the heritage district. This design retains the entire arcaded walk and arched window pattern of the original facade. We have been given to understand that, under the guidelines of the Old Sydenham HCD plan, alterations of the arcaded walk and arched window pattern of the original facade cannot be made. This design also allows us to retain the honey locust tree in the corner parkette.

The design that conforms to the guidelines of the district plan will still offer a relocated entrance for improved accessibility and secure access to the meeting rooms after library hours. Some roof modifications are included in the design to keep ice and snow from falling on the walkway below and to improve drainage. Reconstruction of some upstairs windows is also being requested to provide proper drainage and a more efficient thermal seal, with a view to long-term building preservation.

The Library will be bringing a delegation to Kingston City Council at their meeting on September 6th at 7:30 p.m. as part of the heritage permit application. City Council meetings are open to everyone and the public is encouraged to attend, watch online or on Cogeco or to follow the City’s Twitter coverage of the meeting at Twitter.com/kingstonmeeting or through the hashtag #ygkc. More information about City Council meetings can be found on the City of Kingston's web site.

Once the heritage permit issue has been issued, we can move forward with finalizing the interior designs and our web site will feature regular updates on the progress. We have already received many suggestions that will be considered as we move forward. We are currently working on the answers to questions brought from the public about the interior of the building and will be updating this page with those answers on September 12.

Download Report 16-225 Application for Heritage Permit for 130 Johnson Street (pdf)

August 10, 2016

View the Central Branch Designs

Designs for our new Central Branch are now available for viewing! Changes to the interior layout will help us better serve and connect with our community.

Reflecting our heritage designation, our architects have created two designs for the façade incorporating feedback from Heritage Kingston. Download this updated presentation (accessible version) that reveals interior floor plans, façade options and the inspiration for our renovations.

Display boards from the architect are currently on display at the Central Branch, and members of the public are invited to drop in beginning August 10 to view the designs and vote on which one you like best.

The Central Branch Renovations Committee will host two public information sessions on Tuesday, August 16 from 2-4 pm and 5-7 pm. Community members are encouraged to drop in, share your questions and concerns with us, and let us know which design you prefer! Can’t make it into the branch? You can always fill out our Contact Us form or just email your thoughts to centralreno@kfpl.ca. While voting is now closed, we always welcome questions or feedback by email or through the webform.

July 20, 2016

Heritage Update

Because of the building's heritage designation and location at the edge of the Old Sydenham Heritage Conservation District, we must receive approval from Kingston City Council before any alterations to the exterior of the building are made. 

Plans were submitted to Heritage Kingston for review at their July meeting in advance of our presentation and report to Council in August. We received some feedback at the meeting and have received some written comments since then. We are currently working with our architects and City staff to revise the design based on some of the feedback.