Windsor

Downtown excited for library branch move to Paul Martin Building

A $10 price tag is all it's costing the City of Windsor to move the library into the Paul Martin Building downtown.

The building was sold to the city for $10

The central branch of the Windsor Public Library will move into the Paul Martin building in downtown Windsor. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

A $10 price tag is all it's costing the City of Windsor to move the library into the Paul Martin Building downtown.

The library is going to take up two floors of the historic building, but only temporarily.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said the city was excited about the move — and that he'd call Martin personally to tell him about it.

"New life for this building will continue our city's pursuit of attracting investment and people to our downtown," tweeted Dilkens. 

Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association chair Brian Yeomans said while he's excited about the library moving in, he's also excited about what comes next.

"It's a great positive because it means the building is getting some work done to it in the inside," said Yeomans. "Once the library does find a permanent home, a lot of work has already been done to it and someone else can move in."

The DWBIA didn't get to have a say in any of the conversations about moving the library, but Yeomans said it was a good decision.

"City Hall is a great space, beautiful. But to use such a historic building, like the Paul Martin, it's a great opportunity to move forward."

Retired professor Veronika Mogyorody says the library can't operate in a bubble — they need to talk to the other cultural organizations that already exist in downtown Windsor. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

Veronika Mogyorody, a former professor at the University of Windsor thinks the library is a good choice for the downtown.

"It's very valuable for the downtown," said Mogyorody. "When I think of the library, I think it's almost like the glue of any city. It brings together cultures, it's devoid of any class. It's the perfect space for downtown."

Yeomans said having a library in the downtown core is essential to providing services to the residents in the neighbourhood. 

"The amount of residents that need to have that outlet, that library for resources ... putting it right in the heart [of downtown] is even more exciting. I think it will see even more traffic than it presently does."

The library will move into the space called the 'Annex.'

Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens says the city is very excited for the library move. (Rose St-Pierre/Radio-Canada)

"If the building wasn't here and we were to pick this space, this is the perfect space to pick," said Mogyorody, naming downtown developments like St. Clair College and University of Windsor spaces and Quicken Loans.

Library CEO Kitty Pope said moving into the Paul Martin Building will bring more foot traffic to the downtown core.

`Moving here temporarily will provide our board the time to properly research and plan for a permanent home," said Pope. 

Board president Rino Bortolin has not ruled out the move being permanent. The library board expects it will take eight months to complete the $1.6-million in renovations to get the space ready for the library to move in. 

When the Downtown Mission takes over the Ouellette Avenue central branch location in June, library materials will be dispersed and the mobile library will be used downtown until the Paul Martin site is ready. 

Mogyorody said the board needs to re-envision what a library is. 

"If we perceive the library exclusively as where you store books, we've missed the boat here. If we re-envision the role it can play, that will have a dynamic impact," said Mogyorody.

The hope, said Mogyorody, is that there needs to be dialogue between the library and all the other cultural elements that exist downtown. 

"Libraries are social hubs," said Mogyorody. "It will be a stopping point for people going to all the different areas."

Mogyorody said the library will help coordinate all the arts elements that already exist in downtown.

"I think it will contribute to the downtown in a very positive way."

With files from Dale Molnar and Angelica Haggert

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