Central Library.

Your Library. Reimagined.

Imagine if our neighbourhood branches were supported by a large Central Branch.

A number of strong neighbourhood branches surrounding a large Central Library is the future of our Library system.

Libraries are core community infrastructure. They are the hub around which community life revolves. 

People come to the Library to engage in programs, use our free services, meet friends and give their kids a space to learn and grow. It’s a space for seniors to gather and stay engaged, a space for reading and lifelong learning and a space for Indigenous culture to thrive.

Right now our buildings are failing us. Old, expensive and ill-suited to modern needs, community life is stunted and falling behind. Creating a new Central Library that is located in the centre of our city, with tons of parking, direct bus access, along a major pedestrian corridor and that lives as part of a vibrant business district will revitalize us in ways we didn’t imagine were possible.

click to enlarge image

click to enlarge image


  • A major hub for families, with children’s areas that let kids enjoy active play year-round; gathering spaces for their care-givers to socialize and enough room that no kids are turned away from reading programs.
  • A conversation space designed to encourage community connections through casual chats around the fireplace, enriching the social lives of seniors.
  • A place where young adults can engage in recreation and creative expression in AV studios, makerspaces, podcasting booths and 3D printers.
  • An Indigenous Knowledge Centre located in the centre of Thunder Bay, uniting the North and South sides of our city and creating a space where new friendships and understandings are built.
  • Space for community partners and social service organizations to join us to offer complementary programs and services
  • A Library system with enough room to grow our collection, linked by a digital backbone that lets you have items delivered from anywhere in the system, right to your favourite branch.
Interactive Play Features
Enclosed Study & Meeting Areas
Cultural Gathering Spaces
Immersive & Accessible Children's Area

Key Features

Features & Amenities of the New Central Library

Item 1 of 3

Community Benefits

More Library

  • Evening hours
  • Weekend hours
  • Open seven days a week

Location, Location, Location

  • Lots of free parking
  • On major bus routes
  • Adjacent to Rec Trails

Learn more about the location here.

A Place to Gather

  • Largest indoor children’s play space in the city
  • Large and small bookable meeting spaces
  • Fire circle and lodge space for respectful gatherings
  • Laptop bar and hot desk spaces for students and small business

Frequently Asked Questions


  • Absolutely not! We plan on continuing to invest in strong neighbourhood branches as we create a new kind of library experience at the Central Library.

  • Our current buildings are failing us. They do not meet operational needs, are physically deteriorating and suffer from a drastic shortage in public space. We currently have about 40% of the national standard for public Library space given our population size. The maintenance of our current buildings is not sustainable given current funding levels. The sizes, locations and services offered at each current Library branch are not well matched to local neighbourhood needs and they limit our ability to deliver modern, high quality Library services to the community.

    We’ve spent three years talking with the community about what they want in the Library. After speaking with nearly 100 community groups and thousands of local residents there is an overwhelming consensus that Thunder Bay needs what almost every other community has - a large Central Library.

    People are clear that they want a Library with good parking, located on a major bus hub and one that meets accessibility requirements and the needs of our senior citizens. They want dynamic children’s space, a dedicated area for youth, plentiful community space for programs, and a space that honours the Indigenous community. Residents demand a model that brings multiple organizations together to offer community wide services at an affordable price. The ONLY way to do this is with a Central Library.

  • After an extensive search led by an architectural firm specializing in library construction, the Intercity Shopping Centre was selected as the ideal location which met all of the major criteria for a new, large format library.

    It provides a central meeting space for the community with a floor plan that can accommodate large numbers of people and serve diverse needs. Operating on one floor, with no stairs or accessibility barriers, makes this location one of the most attractive to seniors, families with young children and those with accessibility needs. Working with a modern structure without internal barriers, heritage limitations or legacy issues allows for the maximum potential of the Library to be realized.

    55,000 sq ft of space, and an enthusiastic partner in Intercity Shopping Centre for hosting family friendly events means endless possibilities for attracting, entertaining and educating the community. This new Library space will be designed to be interactive, dynamic and modular and overcomes the barriers that make innovation extremely challenging at our historic locations.

  • The new Central Library will be located in the centre of our city at the Intercity Shopping Centre (in the old Lowe’s space). The mall has tons of free parking and as a major transit hub, most City buses stop here to pick up and drop off passengers. A dedicated Biking/Walking trail is located across the street behind the McIntyre Plaza and there are sidewalks all around the perimeter for easy walking access.

    This will be the only branch that is equally accessible to both the North and South sides of town and the only public, free space in the entire Intercity area.

  • The community can expect an increase in the number of books available overall at the Library, including at the Central Library branch. The sheer amount of space available at the Central Library will increase our ability to offer more collections for all ages.

    We’ll also be better positioned to attract top authors, organize book clubs, put on lectures and education series and host public talks on our most important community issues.

  • Yes! The new Central Library location will mean that TBPL can offer new and innovative services.

    Some new uses the Central Library can host include dedicated play spaces for children, more quiet study spaces, a youth space for technology programs, a new creative space for A/V studios, podcasting booths, makerspaces and 3-D printers, meeting rooms for community groups and book clubs, more space for public computers, and more!

    A new central Library branch in Intercity will bring us into the 21st century. It will allow us to have the children’s and youth reading and programming spaces we just can’t fit into our old buildings. It will allow us to meet accessibility standards so that everyone can equally participate. It will allow us to offer better hours on evenings and weekends so working families can fully embrace all the Library offers. Offerings that are in high demand but unavailable in our neighbourhood branches due to space limitations will be delivered at our Central Library branch. These include our local history and genealogical resources which would be centrally located for better and easier access.

Get Involved with the Central Library Project

Sign up here to receive news updates about the Central Library branch, and use the handy feedback form to submit your comments about the project.

Back to Top