Help Shape The Future Of Winnipeg Public Library

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Sir William Stephenson Ideas Fair

4This past Saturday afternoon (June 7) an Ideas Fair was held at Sir William Stephenson library.  Though we’re collecting feedback from online surveys that people are filling out, Winnipeg Public Library is also holding Ideas Fairs to provide an opportunity for people to participate in 4 interactive activity stations which will help us plan for the future of Winnipeg Public Library!

Saturday’s event at Sir William Stephenson was a real success because the participants who came were extremely enthusiastic and keen.  We received m uch good feedback at this event which will definitely assist us in working on our five year plan for the library.  A few of the activities that participants engaged in were:

  • placing ‘tokens’ in containers to make decisions about how to allocate funds for collections
  • selecting favorite pictures of libraries from around the world

Even if you’ve already filled out an online survey, the Ideas Fairs provide you with a unique way to provide additional feedback.  Participants on Saturday seemed to enjoy moving through the 4 stations, and getting stickers in their passports as they completed each station.  Completed passports are then entered into a draw for prizes, including a gift basket and tickets to opening night of War Horse.  Children who participate at the children’s station are eligible to enter to win a children’s prize package and books.

Our next Ideas Fairs are at Millennium library on June 11 from 5-8 pm, and at Pembina Trail library on June 17 from 5-8 pm.  Come out and share your ideas, and enter the draw for great prizes!  Both events are drop-in, so no need to register.  Hope to see you at Millennium or Pembina Trail!

Gathering ideas at Manitoba Start

Manitoba Start June2014It was another busy visit discussing Inspiring Ideas! This time we headed just down the street from the Millennium Library to Manitoba Start. What a gorgeous space! Manitoba Start houses an information and referral service for new immigrants and, as we saw this morning, it’s a very busy place. There were people dropping in for basic information, meeting with case workers and lots of students coming to and from classes.

The newcomer community in Winnipeg is large and growing and we know that the Library is one of the first stops that many people make once they get settled in to their new city (and often even before that!). Today we answered a lot of questions about what we offer (“eBooks?” Yes. “Books in my language?” You bet. “Are Library cards free?” Absolutely.) and heard even more about what people think is important for us to focus on – everything from supporting economic development to remaining a place where communities can come together. As the morning went by we were reminded – once again – how peoples’ unique stories influence what they need and want out of their library system. We can’t wait to hear more.

Visits to CanU Running & Read and Pride Winnipeg

CanU: Canada’s Shoe Giveaway in Central Park

Ambassador Carolyn getting ready to talk to the families at Central Park.

Ambassador Carolyn getting ready to talk to the families at Central Park.

On Saturday May 31 library staff were in attendance at the shoe giveaway in Central Park being hosted by the awesome organization Can U Canada. Winnipeg Public Library was invited to set up a table with crafts and literacy games for the many kids who attended. The event was a complete success and 3000 pairs of shoes were given out to inner city families!

An ambassador was on hand to talk to families about the future of the library. Many people graciously took the time to fill in the survey and had some great conversations while waiting in line for the shoes. We met some enthusiastic young library users and their parents from all over the City who were eager to influence the Library’s priorities in planning for the future.


Sisters Nadia and Ralaine enjoying giant books in our reading tent.


Pride Festival Winnipeg

Alexis and Carolyn at Pride ready to survey the crowds!

Alexis and Carolyn at Pride ready to survey the crowds!

Survey ambassadors with iPads in hand joined the crowds of people at the Pride festival at the Forks on Sunday June 1st to get feedback as part of the Inspiring ideas campaign. We handed out bookmarks and stickers and asked people what they think the library’s future should be. Some people spoke about their love of the library for their children and as a valuable study space. Others suggested there be more programming directed at the LGBTQ* community. The conversations were very inspiring and many people took a few minutes away from the festivities to provide us some important feedback and fill in our survey! Happy Pride everyone and thank you for participating!

Seeking insight and inspiration at Siloam Mission

Siloam Mission May2014This morning (May 30th) Inspiring Ideas Ambassadors with our Outreach Services unit had some terrific interactions with the men and women at Siloam Mission.  Outreach Services (learn more about us here) visits Siloam about 4 times each year to sign up people for Library memberships, replace Library cards and answer any questions folks may have about what the Library offers.  The conversations are always great.

Today we heard a whole lot of ideas about how Winnipeg Public Library should focus its efforts.  People were excited about the idea of more mobile services, had questions about the future of print books, were excited to learn about our new hoopla service and talked about wanting resources to learn more about Cree and Ojibway cultures.  Like I said, the conversations are always great.  Thank you to Siloam for continuing to host us and to our fellow community members who shared their dining room space with us this morning.

Visiting the Seniors’ Housing and Lifestyles Expo

seniorsexpoThe Seniors’ Housing and Lifestyles Expo was hopping busy with organizations and businesses from across the city presenting their services for older adults. Library staff were on hand to showcase our programs and services – and answer questions of all kinds. There was a lot of interest in our collections and services for the visually impaired, and in our programs (over 3,200 a year!), and lots of great technology questions too. Many spoke of their love of print books and magazines, the genealogy and newspaper databases, and were delighted to learn about the library’s extensive movie collection of DVDs and Blu-ray. Everyone loved Zinio eMagazines and getting the chance to download and try it for themselves at our handy iPad station. We introduced many others to Hoopla (music, movies, audiobooks). By the day’s end we had spoken to over 250 people!

Our eager Inspiring Ideas team was right there with us helping with the online survey (or paper survey, if that was preferred) and taking attendees comments and ideas.

Videos from our Inspiring Ideas launch

Keynote Presentation from Ken Roberts:

Spoken Word performance from local artist Nereo

My Ideal Library…

…A Gallery of Suggestions You’ve Shared With Us

Everyone has a unique take on what features and services a library should offer… here are some of the inspiring ideas that you’ve shared with us so far!

(click on the images to enlarge):

Inspired Families and their Inspiring Ideas

photo 4Westwood Library attended the West Portage YMCA Wellness Fair on May 1st. Among the colouring tables, home safety demonstrations, and free loot bags, library staff spoke with 176 families about literacy, baby rhymes, library cards, and our upcoming Mother’s Day program! We even had our own comfy reading corner.

KelseyWe also embraced the opportunity to talk to folks about any inspiring ideas they might want to share about the future for their library.  These new young parents with their little human inspirations in tow have ideas aplenty and we were eager to hear all about it!

An Inspiring Launch

April 28 was the launch of the Inspiring Ideas project. The launch, held at the newly-renovated Metropolitan Theatre, was itself inspiring. Spoken word artist Nereo set the tone with a forward-thinking, captivating performance which enthralled the audience. “Set your imagination free” was the message he spun from mere words into spell-binding images you could hear and almost see. With this opening performance, the morning’s events were bound to engage the audience.


The launch continued its momentum with life-long library supporter Councillor Brian Mayes’ thoughtful words on the many strengths and far-reaching effects of libraries, as well the importance of community involvement in planning the future of these public spaces. Councillor Mayes also revealed that one of his local libraries was not actually a branch of the City system, but his sons’ bedroom, where books were organized and ordered, and for which the Councillor required a library card!

Keynote speaker Ken Roberts gave the audience a taste of the future of libraries. Ken has traveled the world consulting and working with library stakeholders. Through pictures and words Ken forecasted the changing needs and corresponding roles that the Winnipeg Public Library will fill. Ken inspired the audience to think about what they would like to see their local library become. The days of book repositories are long over. Libraries are seeking and finding creative ways to reach out to communities: using their library spaces for collaborative imaginative projects as well as information sharing. Building spaces that have a strong street presence. Giving free access to a new generation of electronic books. No longer content to wait for the public to come to them, the Library is going to the Public.

The morning’s speakers were introduced by Manager of Library Services Rick Walker, tireless champion of new and innovative library initiatives. The audience was encouraged to share their ideas in a variety of ways, by writing or drawing them out on a large mural, by posting them on a white board, by displaying them in pictures via a photo booth, and by filling out the online (or paper) survey.

Inspiring Ideas

Welcome to our Inspiring Ideas website.

Winnipeg Public Library has embarked on an ambitious new strategic planning process to help shape the future of our public library service for the residents of Winnipeg.

Public libraries are operating in a period of great transformation. Libraries are reinventing their roles in the community to respond to the changing needs of library users. Digital material is becoming larger parts of our collections, programming is expanding to meet more diverse needs of the community, and our physical spaces are becoming more collaborative and accessible.

Our five-year Strategic Plan will help guide Winnipeg Public Library through that changing landscape of new library trends and ideas and ensure that the decisions we make are grounded in thoughts of the community.
Over the next couple months we will be asking for your help in that process.

What are your inspiring Ideas? Fill out our survey. Attend one of our public events. Spread the word about our process to your friends and family.

Whether you are currently a library user, or have yet to use the services of the library, we want to hear from you.

Get involved. Share your ideas and help shape the future of Winnipeg Public Library!

Rick Walker
Manager, Library Services