“But What About the Library?” – Past-Forward Place-making

Time: Thursday March 23, 6-8 PM

Location: Macodrum (Carleton University) Library, Archives Teaching Room 583

As the city of Ottawa looks forward towards a new central library, drawing momentum from the plethora of architecturally stunning and urbanistically revitalizing libraries built across the country in recent years, we are invariably asked to consider what it means to build a library for the twenty-first century. While public consultations focus our attention on the future and what we might want a library to be, there is a conspicuous absence of thought given to the library as it is or as it might have been. The official public consultation asks: “If we build a new library, what else would you want it to be?” This question reflects an approach to place-making (and place-marketing) that prioritizes development and building something new. These future visioning exercises rarely engage with the existing landscape or with the presence of the past in contemporary culture. In our workshops, we aim to offer a venue and series of exercises where we can collectively ask: “But what about the library… of our past?… of our present?… as a library?”