We envision a library infused with the spirit of this community, Treaty 6 territory and the homeland of the Métis. It will be a source of inspiration and pride for those who call Saskatoon home.
Enhanced Library Services
A new central library is fundamental to delivering on SPL’s vision to change lives through community connections, engagement and inclusivity, and is a critical piece of SPL’s long-term plan to address population growth and increasing service demands.
A new central library will includes space for:
- Indoor and outdoor greenery.
- A mix of quiet and animated areas.
- Learning and innovation.
- Expanded programming opportunities.
- Groups and individuals.
- A significantly larger collection of physical library materials.
SPL envisions a facility that helps reduce inequality and social isolation in Saskatoon. By supporting citizens in various educational and social pursuits, a new central library will help build community and enhance the overall quality of life for residents.
The new central library is a flagship of Canadian public library reconciliation in action.
Woven into the fabric of this place, Saskatoon Public Library has been enriching the community by inspiring discovery, curiosity and creativity through the sharing of spaces, experiences and ideas for over 100 years. This place also carries deep history and traditions of First Nation storytelling to facilitate information exchange since time immemorial, and the rich culture of the Métis adds vibrancy to the fabric. Located on Treaty 6 territory and the homeland of the Métis, Saskatoon Public Library pays respect to the Indigenous ancestors of this place known as Saskatoon.
This place also holds a dark past. When European explorers arrived, they made treaties with the First Nations people. The Treaties were agreements describing how working together would ensure mutual success and opportunity for all people. The settlers did not keep their Treaty promises. Instead, the Canadian government implemented policies to assert control over Indigenous people that involved cultural assimilation and genocide. Settlers benefited from these policies and structures to gain land, wealth and power. These benefits continue to be realized by non-Indigenous people today. The destructive impacts of the past manifest in systemic racism, resulting in the exclusion of First Nation & Métis people from the economy, disproportionate over-representation in the justice system, and lower health outcomes, among many other negative impacts.
This oppressive and colonial past does not have to define the future. As an organization that played an essential role in the settlement of the city, and as a critical memory institution, Saskatoon Public Library affirms our commitment to reconciliation and acknowledges our responsibility to respond to calls for action, justice and equality. As Treaty people, and as an organization rooted in colonialism, reconciliation means doing our part to create an interdependent and fair society. A society where First Nation & Métis culture, stories, language, and culture thrive and contribute to the fabric of life in Saskatoon, where safe spaces exist for mutual learning, communication across cultures, trust-building, partnerships, and shared social experiences. In this re-imagined society, everyone can enjoy a high quality of life.
Saskatoon Public Library commits being a leader in the realization of reconciliation. We will elevate First Nation & Métis voices, language, culture and history. We commit to connecting with First Nation & Métis communities in meaningful, respectful and inclusive ways, to immerse the organization in cultural understanding, and to integrate First Nation & Métis perspectives in library operations.
Public libraries serve as a critical component in enhancing the quality of life for all and helping to address the global goal of a better and more sustainable future at a community level. The new central library presents a significant opportunity to reduce inequity and introduce progressive and effective social change.
Our vision is to strengthen and contribute to the healing of intergenerational trauma in the community through a culturally appropriate central library project. The new Saskatoon central library will bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities together in a safe and welcoming place.
The physical form of the building itself, as well as the interior and exterior spaces and art, will visually embody local First Nation & Métis identities (traditions and cultures) and express the aspirations of the Saskatoon community as a whole. Reconciliation will be evident in the integration of local First Nation & Métis perspectives into the programs, services, and collections available within the library walls.
To achieve this vision of reconciliation, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous leadership, values, history, and ways of knowing will be incorporated into the library, leaving a legacy of reconciliation behind.
The new central library is a model of sustainability in Saskatoon. The facility will be LEED® Gold certified.
The facility will meet or exceed the City of Saskatoon’s Facility Accessibility Design Standards (FADS), which address physical accessibility. Beyond this, the library intends to consider a wide range of accessibility issues that patrons face, including visual and audio impairments, intellectual disabilities and mental health in the new central library design.