History of the Winnipeg Library Foundation
In the mid-1990s, the City undertook a Strategic Planning process that produced a long range plan for the library. The “Forward Thinking” Report was guided by a Steering Committee that included a broad range of Winnipeg citizens concerned about the future of libraries in the city; it included members of the Public Library Board, community representatives, city councillors, and other individuals, many of whom became members of the Winnipeg Library Foundation.
The Foundation was created by the Winnipeg Public Library Board as an entity separate from itself with the mandate of serving the Winnipeg Public Library through advocacy, fundraising and community awareness initiatives. Mr. Abe Anhang gathered like-minded individuals interested in furthering the growth of the library system in Winnipeg, and approached Mrs. Dee Buchwald to join him as Co-Chair of the of the newly formed Winnipeg Library Foundation. Together, they recruited the members of the Foundation board. (See a list of founding board members here.) The Winnipeg Public Library Board’s support for the Foundation continues to this day in the form of an annual operating grant.
Following a consultative process that resulted in the support of all three levels of government, the Foundation entered into an intensive capital campaign to raise funds to expand and renew the Centennial Library: the renewal encompassed the building itself, the collection, furnishings, and technological capacity. The Opening Doors, Opening Minds Campaign was led by Capital Campaign Chair Bob Silver. In addition to raising significant financial support from the three levels of government, the campaign successfully engaged the generosity of major donors, both local and national. Many corporations, foundations, business and community leaders and citizens of Winnipeg contributed to the renewal of the Millennium Library with great generosity that reflected their strong belief in the value of public libraries to the social, economic and cultural well-being of communities.
This enthusiastic support for the capital campaign was matched in a community campaign launched early in 2003, led by Co-Chairs Ms. Paula Mitchell and Mrs. Annitta Stenning. The Millennium Library Community Campaign succeeded in attracting the interest and generous financial support of many small and medium sized local businesses; cultural organizations; teachers, students, schools and educational organaizations and associations; and citizens from every area of the city and from every demographic. In both campaigns, the Foundation was excited and grateful to come to know the value placed on the public library by citizens.
In its entirety, the campaign raised $21 million.
Funds raised: $21,000,000
- Government of Canada $ 3,000,000
- Province of Manitoba $ 3,000,000
- City of Winnipeg $ 8,000,000
- Community gifts $ 7,000,000
Our Millennium Library
This renovated library was designed by LM Architectural Group (Winnipeg) with Patkau Architects of Vancouver. The library reopened November 8, 2005 following ten years of planning and fundraising, and two years of renovations. Over 3,000 people a day visited the old Centennial Library, while the Millennium Library averages 4,000 visitors a day totaling almost 1.5 million visits a year.
- Untitled, a two-story artwork by local artist Cliff Eyland: over 2000 index-card sized paintings mounted on the wall, resembling a pixilated computer image or what he describes as “scattered cataloguing”. Binoculars are located above in the skywalk for a closeup view. Eyland is an art professor and his work was selected in a highly competitive process. It is the first work completed under the new Public Arts Program of the City.
- The Illumination by Lethbridge, AB artist Nicholas Wade. This piece represents one of the most common words in the English language – THE – and brings elements of typography back into architecture. This was the second work under the Public Arts Program for the City of Winnipeg, and may be viewed on the Richardson Reading Terrace.