The announcement that the City of Windsor is investing a piece of Windsor history by purchasing the iconic Paul Martin Building (185 Ouellette Avenue) and that two floors will serve as a temporary home for Windsor Public Library, was welcome news for WPL CEO Kitty Pope.
“The Paul Martin site is in a prime location close to bus and bicycle routes with plenty of parking available in the area and convenient to St. Clair College and University of Windsor students,” she said. “Materials and resources not making the move to the new location will be distributed to other library branches. Library staff has been working hard for the past several months to formulate transition plans and will be working hard to ensure the temporary location is a welcoming public library space.”
Plans are currently being finalized for library services to be spread over two floors of the Paul Martin addition. The addition was completed in 1959 and complements the Art Deco Paul Martin Building that opened in 1932. Previous occupants include Canada Post, the Canada Revenue Agency, the Canada Border Services Agency and various other federal departments.
Concurrent with planning a temporary home, the Windsor Public Library Board approved the new Central Library Functional Plan that staff and architects began in 2016. The two-phase initiative captures the vision for a new central library and includes costing estimates and the results of external community consultations. The Plan provides a road map for the WPL Board and City Council to follow and move forward to build a new Central Library in the downtown core.
To better prepare for the move to the Paul Martin building, library service at 850 Ouellette Avenue will be reduced to one floor at the end of April, with Central Library closing its doors to the public on Saturday, May 18. WPL will occupy 850 Ouellette until June 28 with the intervening time spent decommissioning the building and initiating the move. Popular materials, such as DVDs previously housed on the second floor, have already been relocated to the first floor. More details will soon be available about library services being offered in the downtown core during this transition period.