The Guelph Library Project: An Introduction

Are public libraries relevant in the 21st century? How much do they matter and will communities pay for them? Does Guelph need or want a new downtown public library?

Let’s find out.

The Guelph Library Project explores the initiative pursued over many years (and still unresolved) to build a new public library in downtown Guelph.

Carnegie GPL Street Scene
The old Carnegie Library in Guelph

Attitudes have certainly changed.

In 2002 Monteith Planning Consultants asked if: “A new downtown Main Library should be a high priority in the City.” The results:

Library Users: 66% (agree or strongly agree)
Non-Library Users: 56% (agree or strongly agree)

Twelve years later in 2014, Forum Research asked: “Do you Support a New Main Library?” The results are very different:

Yes: 36%
No: 58%
Undecided: 6%

This project is also an integral part of a First Year Seminar course being taught at the University of Guelph. The research, interviews, and most of the postings on this site will be done by those students.

Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie has posed the essential question:

“What is the future of libraries and how is it [the current plan for a new library] going to best fit into that future?”

Guelph Public Library
The current Guelph Public Library (Main Branch)

The course begins on Thursday September 10th and runs until Thursday December 3rd. You are encouraged to not just read about it but to actively participate by commenting on this site and using the hashtag #GuelphLibProject on Twitter and other social media.

…Mike (course instructor & librarian)

One thought on “The Guelph Library Project: An Introduction”

  1. In this day of electronics, books are still important. We make visits to the library a family event and my children love it. The library is a community gathering place that offers great programs to expand the horizons of our children. I always want libraries to be a priority for every community.

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