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The Southwest Library will be a 14,000 square foot building in the community of Rosenberg, to the southwest of the intersection of Bleams Road and Fischer-Hallman Road.

In 2021, mcCallumSather Architects in partnership with 4 Directions of Conservation Consulting, SpruceLab and Trophic Design began designing the new Southwest Library.  

Construction is expected to begin in 2023, with an anticipated opening in 2024.

Southwest Library Context Plan

Working with mcCallumSather the goal is to design a NetZero energy efficient building. This will be one of the first public libraries with this designation in Canada.

To the west of the library is parkland, a hydro corridor, and a planned future elementary school and community centre. Nearby trails will pass through and connect in the immediate area. Creating connections to the adjacent park, school and community centre will be an important feature of this library location. This library will also feature a demonstration kitchen, recording studio, after-hour rental space, learning gardens, and outdoor programming space. 

The library site is located on the Haldimand Tract. The discovery of Indigenous artifacts and a First Nation Village near the site informs the responsibility to work with Indigenous partners to ensure that land, building and programming reflect the shared relationships and responsibility to this land. 

Timeline

We continue working with architect mcCallumSather to finalize detailed design of the library.

Artist's rendition of Southwest Library

2019

Community engagement begins

2020

Design work begins

2020

Community engagement project with SpruceLab, 4 Direction Consulting and Trophic Design begins

2021

Design approval

2022

Detailed design approval and construction tender

2023

Library construction

2024

Southwest Library opens

Now Accepting Public Art Expressions of Interest 

We are looking for expressions of interest (EOIs) to create a public art commission for the Southwest Library.

We invite artists or artist teams to submit a proposal to be considered by a jury in the Kitchener Public Library's Southwest Library Public Art Competition. This is the first stage in a two-stage competition.

This call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) is open to established artists or artist teams with experience creating public art projects. The selection team will give preference to submissions from artists or teams with Indigenous, immigrant or other equity-deserving backgrounds.

Click here to learn more about the EOI process.

 

Community engagement about the Southwest Library began in 2019 with a Kitchener-wide community engagement strategy that saw more than 7000 participants.  

In 2020, strong support for the project was confirmed through an online survey specifically aimed at individuals living in the surrounding neighborhoods, which saw more than 1200 responses.  

In 2021, working in partnership with 4 Directions of Conservation ConsultingSpruceLab and Trophic Design. KPL held public focus groups, community partner engagement sessions, and Indigenous engagement with Land Rights Holders.  

Throughout we received feedback about design considerations and service priorities.  

Questions asked included:

  • How do you want to feel when you are visiting the library?
  • What activities would you like to do inside and outside the library?
  • What physical elements would make it easier for you to visit and stay at the library?
  • What considerations are important for making the library a safe and inclusive space?
  • What community program or partnerships would benefit from a stronger relationship with the library?
  • How can we respectfully acknowledge Indigenous communities in the design of the library?

 

Image highlighting southwest library design features

We heard from the community that priorities include:

  • Needing to serve a range of functions to offer both quiet and collaborative spaces
  • Offering natural light
  • Architectural features that welcome everyone into the space
  • Providing space for art, music, and performance space 
  • Animating the space with children's play and exploration space
  • Bringing the outdoors in

 

Image highlighting First Nations engagement with the Southwest Library project

Through Indigenous Engagement with Mississauga of the Credit First Nation and Six Nations of the Grand River we heard:

  • The importance of water and access to water – library landscape design incorporates bioswales to receive rainwater runoff and a rain garden
  • A desire for spaces for ceremony and gathering – library design includes spaces small and large for community gathering and opportunities for ceremony including smudging
  • The importance of establishing a relationship to nature – landscape design recognizes that relationship and includes 4 directions garden and opportunities to bring outside – inside
  • Consideration of circular elements in design – design presents opportunities for gathering/meeting in open space circles, circular elements included in lighting and outdoor seating
  • Opportunities for teaching and sharing of Indigenous cultural practices – design incorporates opportunities for smudging. As we continue process of building relationships with Indigenous communities, there is the opportunity to develop programming to teach and share Indigenous culture

We want to foster meaningful ongoing engagement with Indigenous Right Holders to ensure that the land, building, and programming reflect the shared relationships and responsibilities to the land.

 

Image highlighting proposed landscape features surrounding the Southwest Library

Engagement about landscape features highlighted:

  • The importance of establishing a relationship with the parkland, and building connections with the adjacent school and community centre
  • Making space for outdoor programming, and incorporating shade elements for gathering
  • Establishing connections to planned trails through and around the site
  • Establishing a learning garden

Artist's rendering of the Southwest Library interior

The vision for the new Southwest Library is to create a space that inspires the community and offers unique opportunities to explore traditional, digital, and emerging library services.

We want this to be a true community destination with space for gathering and connecting.  We understand that this will be a long term community resource and we want to ensure the space is flexible to accommodate future needs.

Our goal is for the space to be:

  • Accessible and Welcoming
  • Vibrant and Creative
  • Diverse and Inclusive
  • Inspiring and Engaging
  • Flexible and Adaptive

Southwest Library Floor Plan

With a demonstration kitchen, multi-use program room and access to surrounding outdoor space, the library is positioned to build on its nutritional literacy and gardening programs that honour the land and encourage sustainability.

A creation centre provides the community a space where they can learn skills such as coding, create audio and film recordings, and access specialized technologies.

The modular nature of the library design presents opportunities for community groups and individuals to gather, create, learn, and celebrate together.

Southwest Library Landscape Plan

As heard through community engagement, establishing a relationship with nature is an important part of this build. Landscape architects SpruceLab and Trophic Design have created an outdoor space that includes:

  • Learning gardens
  • Connections to the adjacent park and trail system
  • Easy and clear circulation
  • Shaded areas for seating, gathering, and reading
  • Features that showcase or suggest water
  • Indigenous elements to respect First Nations’ cultures and educate library visitors

Kitchener Public Library is committed to the sustainability of our services, spaces and resources. Libraries, by their nature, are a publicly-funded version of a sharing economy.  

Keeping in mind responsible stewardship, and ensuring an environmentally conscious build, the Southwest Library will be a NetZero building. This means that it will be a high energy-efficient building that produces 100% carbon-free renewable energy to offset the annual carbon emissions from the building materials and operations. This will be one of the first public libraries with this designation in Canada. 

NetZero features will include:

  • Controlled use of glazing to capture solar heat
  • An all-electric building (no natural gas)
  • Geothermal technology
  • Photovoltaic systems (solar panels)
  • High performance building enclosure features include triple-panel glazing, and a thicker roof wall and floor insulation
  • Custom heating, cooling and ventilation system

We are committed to creating an accessible library space that is open and inclusive for everyone in our community. Accessibility features of the Southwest Library include:

  • AODA compliant design
  • Design review by Grand River Accessibility Advisory Committee
  • Single-storey design
  • Barrier-free parking
  • Bus stop in front of library
  • Gender neutral washrooms
  • Lower shelving with wider aisles
  • Open sightlines to aid interior wayfinding
  • Accessible technology (screen reading software, text-to-speech software, etc.)

Connect with Us

Do you have question about the project, or want to join the email list for news and updates about the Southwest Library? Email us at swlibrary@kpl.org.