Cedarbrae library open after $9M high-tech overhaul

The Cedarbrae District Library opened its doors for the first time since October 2008 on Dec. 6, revealing its $9.15-million renovation. It had been eagerly awaited.

“As the city councillor here in Ward 43 for the past four years, the number 1 complaint or concern or question that has always been brought to me is when is the library opening,” Coun. Paul Ainslie said.

Hundreds of children, teenagers and adults huddled outside the branch in the cold, waiting for the doors to open to their library.

“This branch really shows how this community needs this library and wants this library,” Ainslie said. “The great number of people here today is a tribute to this community.”

The revitalization adds over 400 square metres to the aging building. Cedarbrae is one of the busiest branches in the entire system.

“This has been a complete and utter gutting and upgrading,” said Edward Karek, communications officer for the Toronto Public Library. “This branch features a significant pilot project: we have the first automatic book return system in any Toronto library branch.”

The automatic check-in is a test project the library has been working on since 2009.

“The automatic check-in reduces handling time, the public doesn’t have to wait for staff to check their material in or out now, allowing them to spend more time providing assistance,” said Susan Martin, an expert on the new technology.

The branch also features 62 computers for the public with wireless Internet access, a riverboat-themed children’s zone with interactive learning stations and more than 35,000 new books.

“As many of you have seen, the branch has many exciting new features including a new convenient layout, an extraordinary layout. Glass and light, a lot more space,” said Matthew Church, chairman of the library board.

The architecture and design was an important part of the renovation.

One of the library’s concerns was that the renovation respect the original building, branch director Anne Bailey said when meeting with the public.

“As you come up from Markham Road, this building really stands out,” Bailey said. “With the pinnacles and glass, it’s just wonderful.”