Location: Hamilton, ON
Client: Hamilton Public Library - Indwell
Year of Completion: 2021
Architect of Record: Invizij Architects
Hamilton Public Library’s new Parkdale Branch is a milestone achievement for an organization already in the habit of delivering innovative and ever-expanding services to the communities it serves. The Branch opened in early 2021, despite the setbacks of COVID-19, as Hamilton’s first browsing library. A complete browsing collection means that there’s always something new and interesting on the shelf, ready to be checked out. Post-pandemic, as service expands, this new Branch will realize its intended vision: to provide a neighbourhood-scale focal point for connection, learning, and inspiration.
The Parkdale Branch is located in 1,500 square feet of converted commercial storefront in a newly developed fifty-unit affordable housing community built by Indwell. The partnership with Indwell allowed HPL to launch their new Branch without the expense and delays involved with purchasing land and a protracted design process, while also providing the non-profit developer with a stable tenant. Most importantly, however, their collaboration provided a library to a neighbourhood with very limited previous access to public services (previously, the nearest library was 2.0 km away [Kenilworth Branch]).
HPL’s Parkdale Branch is designed to deliver familiar library services, like book lending and access to internet and technology, but also offer new services, like bookable meeting rooms and study space for youth or other learners (something not previously available in the community). The facility is also open to partner agencies, including Children’s Aid Society, hosting family visits or other activities within their space. With only one of an original four local schools left in the neighbourhood, many children and families are expressing excitement about the new resources the Parkdale Branch will provide. As the neighbourhood continues to be a launching pad for households who are new to the country, the Branch will also play a role in helping citizens adjust to life in urban Canada.