As of today (August 1) at 9pm, Brampton Library’s Chinguacousy Branch in the Brampton Civic Centre is set to close its doors forever. This closure evokes both sadness and optimism in me.
As most of you know, the reason for the closure is that the Civic Centre will be the location for the new School of Medicine that Toronto Metropolitan University is set to open in 2025. The Library, as a tenant in the building, was given six months’ notice in February to vacate. While the new medical school is good news for Brampton’s future, the move has put the Library in a difficult position.
There has been a library in the Civic Centre since it opened as Chinguacousy Township’s City Hall and cultural centre in 1972. Merging with Brampton Library when the City of Brampton was created in 1974, the branch quickly became the flagship of our system, hosting an incredible array of cutting-edge programs and services and forging partnerships with community organizations located in the same building. In 2017 the branch unveiled a major renovation that included new computer labs, a makerspace and a recording studio. It was truly Bramalea’s community hub.
We did not have much time to search for a new location, but with the support of the City, we are relocating the branch in the short term to the Ski Chalet in Chinguacousy Park, a smaller but modern and airy building that will offer most of the same services, albeit on a smaller scale. Chinguacousy in the Park will open very soon, as we are only awaiting occupancy permission to close out the building permit and make sure everything is safe. But we know from your feedback that the location is less than ideal, not being as accessible on foot or by transit as the Civic Centre.
So, why am I optimistic about the situation? Firstly, I have been blown away by the outpouring of support and concern from our users, who have told us over and over again how important the library has been to their success. Secondly, we are embarking on a process to explore options for a future permanent location for the branch, either by renovating an existing building or constructing a new one. The process will take some time, but in the interim we will still be able to serve the Bramalea area from the Ski Chalet. Tonight, as the last Civic Centre library users log out of their computers and check out their items, is the end of one era and the start of a new one. I hope you’ll join us on the ride.