Northern District Library due for fix-up

An aging Northern District Library is set to undergo a retrofit this year, but with the facelift may come a reduction in the library’s collection.

Toronto Public Libraries has received $1-million in federal infrastructure money to upgrade shelving and replace carpet at the Yonge Street and Orchard Park Boulevard branch. The library will be closing temporarily later this year, but there may be alternate space open during the reno.

While now in the process of developing a floor plan, staff is also planning to weed through the library’s collection, says Anne Bailey, director of branch libraries.

She didn’t rule out that the 159,000 holdings could be reduced as a result of both the retrofit and collection assessment.

“When we look at the collections in Toronto public library, we look at individual libraries but we look at the whole library system as well,” she said. “So things that we might have in one branch might, if we were assessing the collection, be moved to another branch.”

Bailey said they’re also looking at having the right balance between collections, community space and computer access.

Access to electronic information could have implications for the whole library system’s collection size.

“We’re finding particularly in some of our neighbourhood branches that there is less demand say, for the reference collections and so we don’t have as many encyclopedias as we used to,” Bailey said.

However, last year the library system had its highest circulation ever.

“So there’s still a strong demand for both types,” said Bailey.

The building must also be brought up to the province’s new accessibility standards, in terms of shelving heights and space between stacks, she said. This may also affect collection size.

Bailey cited one case at the recently-renovated Kennedy and Eglinton branch in which load-bearing restrictions for the library floor resulted in less shelving space.

“In that case we did have to reduce the collection because of the restrictions that were placed on where we could put shelving in the

Library officials are planning to hold an open house for the Northern reno later in the spring to get community feedback.

The Northern District branch library has been a fixture in the community since the early part of the 20th century. It’s been in the current building since 1975.