Millennium Library (Winnipeg)

The Millennium Library is the main branch of the Winnipeg Public Library located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. It was known as the Centennial Library from 1977 until 2005. The library is located at 251 Donald St, and serves approximately 5,000 visitors each day.[1]

Millennium Library
Winnipeg Millennium Library.JPG
Winnipeg's Millennium Library
TypePublic library
EstablishedMarch 16, 1977; 42 years ago (March 16, 1977) (Centennial Library)
November 8, 2005; 14 years ago (November 8, 2005)(Millennium Library)
ArchitectWard, MacDonald, Cockburn, McLeod and McFeetors
Location251 Donald Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
R3C 3P5
Service areaDowntown Winnipeg
Coordinates49°53′31″N 97°08′31″W / 49.892°N 97.142°W / 49.892; -97.142Coordinates: 49°53′31″N 97°08′31″W / 49.892°N 97.142°W / 49.892; -97.142
Branch ofWinnipeg Public Library
Millennium Library (Winnipeg) is located in Canada
Millennium Library (Winnipeg)
Location in Canada
Millennium Library (Winnipeg) is located in Manitoba
Millennium Library (Winnipeg)
Millennium Library (Winnipeg) (Manitoba)

The four storey, 17,600-square-metre (189,000 sq ft)[2] library boasts a Local History Room, public art, information displays, a grand staircase, as well as access to the Winnipeg Walkway system. The Best of Friends Gift Shop is also situated within the building.[1]


Interior reading terrace

In May 1968 Mayor Stephen Juba proposed that a new Centennial Library be built by 1970 to honour Manitoba's 100th birthday.[3] A plan was put in place to relocate the main branch on Graham Avenue between Smith and Donald Streets, on the site of Columbus Hall (Aragon Bldg.) where Bell Drugs, Rainbow Dance Gardens, and J's Discotheque were located.[4] In March 1969, the City announced it wanted to purchase the land between Graham and St. Mary and Smith and Donald for $1.75 million.[5] The construction of the new library and underground parking for 500 cars cost $9 million.[6] In December 1973, Ward, MacDonald, Cockburn, McLeod and McFeetors were selected as the architectural firm to design the new library.[7] The Province chipped in $900,000 towards the cost.[8] A sod turning ceremony, commencing construction was held on December 20, 1974, with actual construction beginning in March. The new library would have room for 600,000 books within its 350,000 sq. ft.[9] The construction tender was awarded to Poole Construction Ltd. (now PCL). The original cost of the project was estimated at $8,478,462, though that figure had risen to $9 million afterwards. A construction strike and winter work conditions caused the project to be completed four months later than originally calculated.[10]

The underground parkade, for 550 vehicles, opened early December 1976.[11]

The Central branch (380 William Ave.) closed February 21 and the Downtown branch (408 Portage Ave.) closed February 25, 1977 so that materials could be moved over to the new Centennial Library.[12]

The Library was opened to the public on March 16, 1977 as the Centennial Library. It replaced the Central branch on William Avenue. Fifty-five hundred people visited on opening day, and 5,188 books and magazines were checked out. Al Ducharme (ICEC - St. Vital) greeted members of the public and borrowed the first book at the new library.[6]


Started in 2003[13] and completed in 2005, the $21 million[14] redevelopment of Winnipeg's main library branch involved the addition of 3,700 square metres (40,000 sq ft) of new space, construction of a new fourth floor and renovations throughout the existing 10,000-square-metre (110,000 sq ft) library.[2] The library now features a new Reading Terrace with a four storey high solar glass wall, positioned alongside a new grand staircase, along with two new glass elevators,[2] and a passive solar wall on the southeast face of the building.[13] The Millennium Library opened on November 8, 2005[15] after $18 million of renovations were constructed over a two-year period. The work was completed a year late and $4 million over budget.[14]

In 2013, Toronto-Dominion Bank presented a $150,000 gift to be used towards renovations of Millennium Library's TD New and Noted area. The renovations will include open-concept space, as well as direct access to Millennium Library Park.[16]

First FloorEdit

Memberships, Checkin, Returns, Holds, Checkout, Self-Checkout, Children's Services, Teen Central, Aboriginal Reading-in-the-Round, Includes New & Noted, Adult Fiction, New Fiction and Non-Fiction, Express Bestsellers, Paperbacks, Magazines, Express Computers, Winnipeg Transit Kiosk, Security desk.[17][18][19]

Second FloorEdit

DVDs, CDs, Talking Books, Books on CD & Cassette, Large Print, Biographies, Scores, Services for People with Special Needs, Carol Shields Auditorium, Buchwald Room, Anhang Room, Meeting Room 1, Meeting Room 2, Tutorial Room A, Tutorial Room B.[20][21]

Third FloorEdit

Millennium Library Local History Room (Resources on Winnipeg and Manitoba history, Henderson Directories), Computer Training Lab, Newspapers, Reference Magazines, Microfilm, Vertical Files, Stack Reference, Copiers.[19][20][22]

Fourth FloorEdit

Non-fiction (000-999), Reference Collection, Government Documents, Computers, Meeting Room 3.[20][23]

Millennium Library ParkEdit

Finished 2012, the park alongside the Millennium Library underwent a $4.3-million reconstruction. The rebuilt plaza has an artificial wetland aerated by a pair of windmills, a wooden walkway built out of sustainably farmed wood, birch trees planted in deep pots, two new pieces of public art, and low fences and a raised floor.[14]

The park now features five distinct outdoor zones:[24]

  • The Millennium Plaza
  • Crossroads Plaza
  • The Learning Commons
  • The Urban Wetland
  • The Jim Pattison Foundation Reading Garden

When the Millennium Library reopened, there was no money left in the budget to rebuild the park.[14]

Work on the park could not commence until a membrane was built over the parkade below it. Rebuilding the plaza itself was funded equally by all three levels of government. The Winnipeg Arts Council arranged financing for the two pieces of public art: Sentinel Of Truth and emptyful.[14]

Reconstruction Costs:[14]

  • $2.1 million to rebuild the plaza
  • $1.5 million to replace a membrane over the roof of the Millennium Library Parkade
  • $575,000 to commission and install "emptyful"
  • $90,000 for "Sentinel Of Truth"

The redevelopment plan was spearheaded by the Winnipeg Library Foundation.[25]

Public ArtEdit

The following public art installations are viewable in and around the Millennium Library.[19]

  • Bill Pechet's "emptyful" (Park) - a stainless steel sculpture including water elements[26]
  • Darren Stebeleski's "Sentinel of Truth" (Park) - a wall of weathering steel, covering and protecting bits of text inscribed into stainless steel.[27]
  • Cliff Eyland's "Untitled" (Lobby)
  • Nicholas Wade's "Illumination" (Richardson Reading Terrace base)
  • Charlie Johnson's "Story Lines" mural (Skywalk)
  • J.A. Long's "Andrew Carnegie" portrait (Richardson Reading Terrace)
  • Timothy Ray and Dale Amundson's "A.R. or R.A." (Children's Services)

"emptyful", the erlenmeyer flask-shaped fountain, is the most expensive piece of public art in Winnipeg history. It is illuminated by four bands of LED lights at night and uses both water and fog. During the summer, when the fog and water elements will be operational, the fountain is illuminated in blue, green and purples hues. During the winter, when the water elements are not operational, the artwork is lit up with reds, oranges and yellows.[14]

Security issuesEdit

Security issues at the Millennium Library have increased since 1989 and have been an increasing problem since.

Numerous incidents involving aggressive visitors to the Library, some involving weapons, open liquor have been documented by the Winnipeg Police Service and the head of the Winnipeg Public Library. In early 2019 the staff of the Library felt that they needed to increase the level of security, to protect both the staff who provide assistance and for patrons who are there to study. Measures were taken, where weapons and liquor were held by a private security firm and could be collected after the library visitor had left.

When the new security protocol came into effect on February 28, 2019 a group of university students had created an ad-hoc group, opposing the changes, saying it invades patron's privacy.

The Library reported in early September 2019 that the new security measures had the intended effect of decreasing the numbers aggressive patrons who bring in weapons and/or alcohol. However, it has also had the unintended effect of decreasing the numbers of legitimate patrons who are there to study.[28][29]

External linksEdit


  1. ^ a b "Millennium Library". Tourism Winnipeg. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Winnipeg Millennium Library". LM Architectural Group. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  3. ^ "EDITORIAL: Centennial Library". Winnipeg Free Press. May 1, 1968. p. 55.
  4. ^ "Save Old Hall, Asks Anti-Conformist". Winnipeg Free Press. May 14, 1969. p. 69.
  5. ^ "City Wants Downtown City Block: $1.75 Million Earmarked For Library and Parking". Winnipeg Free Press. May 21, 1969. p. 3.
  6. ^ a b Lyon, Debbie (March 18, 1977). "Thousands of book buffs head downtown to check out new Centennial Library". Winnipeg Free Press. p. 3.
  7. ^ "City Council Briefs: Design Consultants Appointed". Winnipeg Free Press. December 21, 1973. p. 11.
  8. ^ "$900,000 Grant To Library". Winnipeg Free Press. May 24, 1974. p. 16.
  9. ^ "Library 'Sod' Broken". Winnipeg Free Press. December 20, 1974. p. 58.
  10. ^ "Winnipeg Centennial Library (construction photo)". Winnipeg Free Press. November 28, 1975. p. 3.
  11. ^ "The Winnipeg Centennial Parking Garage". Winnipeg Free Press. December 4, 1976. p. 9.
  12. ^ "City of Winnipeg - Library Department - NOTICE". Winnipeg Free Press. February 5, 1977. p. 15.
  13. ^ a b "Millennium Library Opening". Winnipeg Library Foundation. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g Kives, Bartley (21 July 2012). "Library park's opening better late than never". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  15. ^ Romaniuk, Ross (November 8, 2005). "Library 'wonderful': Bigger, better facility opens today". The Winnipeg Sun. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved March 4, 2007.
  16. ^ "TD presents $150,000 gift to support new expansion at Millennium Library in Winnipeg". City of Winnipeg. 17 January 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  17. ^ "Millennium Library Circulation Services". Winnipeg Public Library. Archived from the original on 17 September 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  18. ^ "Millennium Library Reader Services". Winnipeg Public Library. Archived from the original on 17 September 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  19. ^ a b c "Millennium Library". Winnipeg Public Library. Archived from the original on 25 August 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  20. ^ a b c "Meeting Rooms". Winnipeg Public Library. Archived from the original on 19 August 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  21. ^ "Millennium Library Special Services". Winnipeg Public Library. Archived from the original on 25 August 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  22. ^ "Millennium Library Local History Room". Winnipeg Public Library. Archived from the original on 17 September 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  23. ^ "Millennium Library Information Services". Winnipeg Public Library. Archived from the original on 12 March 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  24. ^ "Millennium Library Park". Winnipeg Library Foundation. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  25. ^ Parsons, Lauren (July 20, 2012). "Millennium Library Park opens to public in downtown Winnipeg". Metro News. Archived from the original on September 4, 2019. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  26. ^ "emptyful". Winnipeg Arts Council. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  27. ^ "Sentinel of Truth". Winnipeg Arts Council. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  28. ^ Kavanagh, Sean (September 3, 2019). "Beefed up security leads to drop in visitors at Millennium Library". CBC News Manitoba. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  29. ^ Maconell, Beth (September 3, 2019). "Fewer incidents with new library security: report". CTV News Winnipeg. Retrieved September 4, 2019.