The Windsor Public Library (WPL) is about to write the next chapter in its nearly 125 years of history after agreeing to sell the Central Library building at 850 Ouellette to the Downtown Mission.
Following the opening last year of the W.F. Chisholm Branch at the Optimist Community Centre, the start of construction on the John Muir Branch in Sandwich Town and the forthcoming renovation of the Budimir Branch in South Windsor, the WPL will begin the process of locating a new Central Branch in the Downtown area.
“We are excited to continue with our library system renewal and look forward to creating a new library space that best meets the needs of our community,” said Windsor Mayor and Library Board Chair Drew Dilkens. “We’ve been working hard to bring our libraries into the 21st Century and when the offer to purchase the Central Branch building was presented by the Mission we knew the time to act was now.”
Constructed in 1972, the Main Library comprises 101,467 square feet of space over three floors. The building is too large and no longer meets the needs of a 21st century public library.
“We have been presented with an opportunity to become more accessible and relevant to Windsorites and expand our services to the whole community,” says WPL CEO Kitty Pope. “It’s a great opportunity for us to move ahead and begin the next 50 years of WPL history. The planning to transition to a new location will begin immediately.”
Library Administration is already working on relocation and moving plans to a temporary site that will be needed when the building is turned over to the Mission at the end of June 2019. Plans for a new library will also be worked on during that time and public input will be sought.
(Pictured are Library CEO Kitty Pope, Downtown Mission ED Ron Dunn and Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens)
The Windsor Public Library Board and staff believe in the freedom to read, learn and discover. The WPL enriches the community by providing access to resources which inform, entertain and enlighten. More than 40 percent of the community - 87,756 - have active library cards and over 750,000 people visited WPL in 2017, close to 2,100 daily. In 2017, circulation of library resources topped 1.1 million, staff answered over 100,000 community questions and public computers were accessed over 262,000 times at the nine locations across the city.