New Main Library - Size Matters

January 16, 2009

From Norm McLeod, Chief Librarian

Dear Council Members:

Numbers often tell a compelling story. For 125 years Guelph has enjoyed the services of a highly successful public library. In recent years demand for all of the GPL’s expanding services has grown exponentially. As Rob O’Flanagan reported in a recent article in the Guelph Mercury (Feb11, 2008), the age of the Internet has not killed libraries, it has invigorated them.

Circulation of library materials has increased by 49% since 2000, more than four times the rate of Guelph’s population growth. Demand for library materials has more than doubled in the past twenty-five years, with over 1.73 million items borrowed in 2008.
Numbers also tell a compelling story about the space needs for the new central library. The figures highlighted in the attached PowerPoint presentation do just that. Originally presented to the library board at their December meeting, “Right-sizing the Guelph Public Library” supports the need for a new central branch of at least 90,000 square feet.
This presentation will be shared with a number of community organizations and will be made available to the general public via the library’s website. However we first wanted to share our findings with the mayor, members of city council and the senior management team.