Library’s new Master Facilities Plan offers more space, increased hours and a cost-neutral solution

June 2024 Master Facilities Plan report now available to the public


Thunder Bay Public Library has released its much-anticipated June 2024 Master Facilities Plan report.

Last June, City Council endorsed the creation of a new Central Library branch and the exploration of a three-branch system and a four-branch system versus the status quo. The 2024 report includes detailed financial information and has been informed by intensive study by Library Management, working in consort with City Administration, with design and architectural work completed by Brook Mcllroy, engineering work completed by TBT Engineering and costings verified by a 3rd party independent cost consultant in A.W. Hooker Associates Ltd.

The Master Facilities Plan addresses the three main concerns expressed by the community in the past 3 years of community consultations: insufficient operating hours; a shortage of space for Library collections, programming and community use; and accessibility.

Capital Cost Neutral
The 2024 Master Facilities Plan shows that capital costs to maintain the status quo meet or exceed the costs to create the new system with a Central Library. “Pouring money into ancient infrastructure is just not worth the cost. The numbers show that we’re better off investing in a new branch in Intercity where the long term capital costs do not fall on the taxpayer,” Library CEO Richard Togman said. “For the same amount of money, we can have a brand new library that has over 40% more space.”

Up to 49% More Space
Both new scenarios will result in an overall increase in Library space. The four-branch system would create an increase of 49% in square footage versus the status quo, while the three-branch system would result in an additional 42% square footage versus the status quo.

Head Librarian Ruth Hamlin-Douglas says this increase in space is essential to meet community needs. “Currently we are constrained in our ability to offer programming,” Hamlin-Douglas said. “With the exception of County Park which has no dedicated programming space, each of our branches has only one programming room. In addition to our own programming, we offer our space to partner organizations, community members and not for profit organizations free of charge. The additional space that a Central Library provides will allow us to offer concurrent programming for parents and children while also accommodating teen programs and community groups.”

26% Increase in Library Hours
The new system will optimize staffing, allowing for extended opening hours. The new Central location will be open evenings and weekends, while other branches maintain their current hours.

The June 2024 Master Facilities Plan report can be downloaded from the Thunder Bay Public Library’s website at  It will be presented to City Council on July 22, 2024.

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