Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a digital ribbon cutting ceremony and the entire ceremony will be livestreamed so all Edmontonians can enjoy.
A select few will be able to attend the opening ceremonies in person though, as the Edmonton Public Library will hide tickets at all open library locations from Aug. 27 to Sept. 5.
The library closed on Dec. 31, 2016, to undergo a major renovation including an exterior makeover, asbestos removal, mechanical and electrical upgrades and floor-to-ceiling second-floor windows.
In 2017, city council was told that unexpected problems would raise the initial price from $69 million to $84.5 million.
The library was originally supposed to open on Feb. 14, 2020, but the date was pushed back in December 2019. At the time, the EPL said the grand opening would take place sometime in the spring.
The new design features a larger children’s library, 10,000 square foot Makerspace, Fabrication Lab, a multi-storey interactive digital wall, the Thunderbird Lodge — an Indigenous gathering space — Gamerspace, the new Fresh Finds collection featuring recommendations from local Edmonton celebrities and more than 150,000 items to borrow.
“We know Edmontonians are extremely eager to see what we’ve been working on for the past three years,” Pilar Martinez, CEO of EPL said. “While there have been some mixed reactions on the exterior of our building, we’re extremely proud of our revitalized library and all that we’ve accomplished inside and out.
“We can’t wait for everyone to experience it for themselves.”
When 100 Street reopened after weeks of construction in July 2019, Edmontonians were able to get a closer look at the building. Many said it didn’t match the renderings presented before construction.
Mayor Don Iveson said at the time that problems encountered during construction led to the change in design, but asked people to be patient and judge the final project.
During the grand opening, the EPL said guidelines put in place by Alberta Health Services to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus will be in place including physical distancing, limited capacity and increased hand hygiene measures. Those attending must also wear face coverings.
On Sept. 13, Edmontonians can attend a virtual open house from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.