Letters (September 01, 2010)

I am writing in my capacity as Chair of the Burnaby Public Library Board in response to the article “Call of the Wild” in the July 2010 issue of Canadian Architect.

While the Library Board appreciates that the writer of the article appears to consider the Tommy Douglas Library, our newest branch, a success, we are disappointed with her characterization of the Edmonds community.

Edmonds Town Centre is a neighbourhood in transition. The regeneration and rejuvenation of that area of Burnaby has been an important City objective for most of the last decade and the Edmonds community has embraced and engaged with that objective. There have been several new, large redevelopment projects in the community, most notably Highgate Village. The Tommy Douglas Library, opened in November 2009, is just one of three new civic buildings in Burnaby’s Edmonds Town Centre. Firehall No 2 opened in 2005 and Council recently approved the construction of a new $46-million pool and community centre for Edmonds.

Burnaby City Council and the Burnaby Public Library Board did indeed have an ambitious purpose for the new library. From the very beginning of the project, City Council and the Library Board shared the same goal for this new branch. Since opening, the branch has seen more than 270,000 visits, and borrowing is up over 30 percent. Of particular note is the substantial increase in user enquiries, up over 40 percent. Library users are also enjoying the feel of the building itself–the space, the openness and the colour.

Burnaby Public Library was recently awarded the BC Library Association’s Award of Merit for Building Projects for the Tommy Douglas Library, recognizing this outstanding achievement in a library building project.

Iqbal Dhanani Chair,
Burnaby Public Library Board