Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library

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From the Ground Up

A vision for your new Public Library

To make this new library a great place we need a vision for this design. To create this vision we need your help. Here is what we have heard from the community so far...

What we have heard - Submissions made through the Pictou Library from members of the Public, November 27, 2015

  • More space between the computers.
  • Better paperback shelves (easier to read titles).
  • I have always enjoyed the "homey, small town, warmth" of the library, I hope this milieu is transferred to the new space as well. Big, open, and airy can also be stark and cool.
  • Pilkington Glass http://www.pilkington.com/en/us.
  • More computers.
  • A play room for the kids.
  • More DVDs.
  • Soft chairs.
  • There should be more books.
  • There should be a french program for the older kids.
  • Children's area: carpet with children's numbers /ABCs. Smaller furniture for children. Quiet areas for them to read.
  • Water feature with a koi pond.
  • Calm, lots of light, quiet.
  • Beautiful gardens, walking, seating for one or more.
  • Outdoor café, multiple activities (painters, tourists, local residents) a variety of people.

What we have heard - from member of the Public, November 22, 2015:

"I am very excited about your plans for the new Pictou Library. I think the chosen location is perfect with both the Pictou main street and the waterfront view. The connection to the trail is also a wonderful idea, and it will enable people to walk with a country type atmosphere. Being right on the harbor side will bring tourists to a place near the area where the ship Hector first arrived where they can relax and enjoy our community form history to present day. I think we are all excited for a place where we can gather and socialize with a sense of belonging in our town/community. Our library can be a place of recreation, education, and socializing. It's a great way to bring the town together. Personally, I am looking forward to the opportunity of meeting the people in my community and watching it wake up and come alive.

Here are some ideas/suggestions that I came across and wanted to expand on or encourage:


Plant lots of gardening about the deCoste & library, with bird feeders, houses, & baths (make a bird habitat). Plant rose bushes, lilac bushes, and day lilies of all colors along the walk. We should have old lamp posts along the walk and trail.

Horse area (hitching post or parking stalls) would be a great asset to a historic town atmosphere and kids would love to see them around. The horse area should have a nice wood fence or a bush hedge to mark the distance we want the public to stay from the horses.

Drop box for return items at both entrances.

An outdoor skating area would be beautiful in the winter, but we wouldn’t want any drowning hazards in the summer.

Frame in the parking lots with grass curbs and grow trees, bushes, and flower beds. - & make lots of lighting in the parking lot.

Dog friendly area - great idea


Stone-brick or wood siding. Lots of windows, but framed with clear dividers (not just slivers of steel between panes) I like dividers in the windows. The one huge pane windows seem cold and exposing - Not homie at all. We don't want to be in a display case.


I like the idea of the fireplace (can be fake), fish tank (real, live fish), comfortable seating, N.S. tartan curtains, a model of the ship Hector, big stuffed animal heads on the wall and/or full sized smaller stuffed animals on the mantel, the shelves, or in the windows. (I really like that beaver in the window of Grohman Knives.) Use stained wood for the shelves, but do not use a dark stain (that will be too dark). Maybe consider making wood beams along the roof. A little model town of Pictou would be nice at the front deck, or a wall painted as a road map of the county. We should have some of the First Nations' history as well. Oh! and high ceilings / cathedral ceilings!

Make the waterside focus on the harbor with the free spirit of salt water.

I think the local public and county members that use the library should be challenged to fill the art display.

Build-in cabinets with glass window doors & locks for certain displays.


I like the idea of the age groups having their own corners, but I think the library should encourage all ages to socialize. (For example, like the youth and seniors - there is a lot we can learn from them. We should encourage respect for them.) We need our seniors. What will make them feel welcome?

It would be amazing if you could make octagon shaped add on, off the side with window benches all the way around with built-in "side" tables and under-seat-shelves for yarn or books, or whatever. This would be a great meeting area for knitting circles, reading circles, or just a meeting circle. We'll have to plant bushes & flowers & create a beautiful bird habitat to get the most out of the outside through the glass.

SEWING ROOM - I'm not sure about the interest in or around Pictou, but a sewing room with a few machines, sergers, and sewing supplies could make a great creativity center. (The people of course, must bring their own thread, fabric, & patterns unless they wanted to use some second hand patterns donated by other sewers.) Sewing workshops could be held here. The fabric stores might be happy to host a workshop to inspire new customers. Charity groups could come to sew, quilt, knit, and crochet, etc. at the library. The sewing room will have to be locked when it is not being used. A check in/check out book could be there too to ensure accountability. This room can provide a hobby for everyone from middle school up. (Younger children should have an adult or their parent's assistance.)

A family bathroom is important.

I think all stationary electronics should be in one place.

We still need a quiet study area with close access to educational books.


BLIND WORKSHOPS - To encourage people to try different interests, it might be an interesting idea to have surprise workshops. They can come to learn how to do something, hands on preferably, but they would not know what it is about until they get there. It will challenge them to get comfortable trying new things. If the workshops are known to be a success, the mystery of the workshop might encourage a big turnout.

Gardening room - sounds cool

Nice, friendly, supportive staff


The food place should be in one area of the library. It would make it a lot safer for those with food allergies, and it will be easier to clean. Even if it's peanut free, there are still other life threatening allergies.

I MUST request for you to seriously consider having the trashy magazines and the romance books in their own section out of the children's sight. I also suggest that the art intake should be monitored to insure that it's appropriate for children to see.


The deCoste has a stage. Will they let us use it for private skits or theater practice when they're not using it?

I would like some more old classics like Charles Dickens, Charlotte Mary Yonge, Louisa May Alcott, etc.

Give us a chance & opportunity to build the furniture & such.


More opening hours

Natural light - I dislike LED's because they cause migraines."

What we have heard - from member of the Public, November 19, 2015:

"I would like to add two suggestions. One is in response to quiet learning areas. The library concept has changed to meet modern day needs. Yet it is important to keep concentrated quiet areas that are monitored and managed to allow patrons to use these spaces effectively. Whether it is a separate quiet room with learning spaces. The Antigonish area has a similar concept and it seems more quiet in those areas. We know of a person who is taking online university courses uses the Pictou library on a regular basis for studying. She finds it very distracting with conversations between patrons and patrons and staff.

The other is a music room where music lessons could be taught or bands could practice. This would allow opportunity for another group of customers for Pictou Library."

What we have heard - November 10, 2015: one session (Youth oriented)

  • Young people need a place to hang out, close to downtown.
  • deCoste location is a good spot: downtown, close to the Jitney Trail, Dollar Store, waterfront.
  • Would like own space in the building, where you can be quiet or be loud ... and not 'on display', some privacy, don't want to bother others. A place to socialize.
  • WiFi, TV, computers, comfortable couches.
  • Access to language programs (to learn languages).
  • Also quiet study spaces - with comfortable seating and good light, calm and relaxing.
  • A good kitchen with a fridge and to be able to make meals, prepare snacks, help in learning to make healthy meals.
  • Activities - movie nights, dances, concerts, open mic night, games, cards.
  • Liked the idea of a sound booth to create music with some help and access to instruments.
  • Outdoor activity equipment loan: snowshoes, cross country skis, bicycles, etc.
  • Energy efficient, environmentally-friendly building & space is very important.
  • School work help - from printers, to hands on projects (such as science, astronomy, chemistry).
  • Dog watering station, covered kennels.
  • Horse hitching post (... that's what the Jitney was used for !!)
  • The building should look cultural - to fit in with the Town (like the deCoste Centre - wood siding), not something too "out there".
  • Summer/seasonal kiosks for youth job opportunities training/entrepreneurs think there would be interest.
  • Telescopes - binoculars, viewing observatory deck, want to see the harbour in all directions.
  • Good time lengths to use public computers (desktops!), like an hour or longer and IT training.
  • Tablets would be okay but still like the workstations.
  • Balcony, on roof - with harbour view for a viewing/observatory.
  • Skateboarder friendly.
  • A place to go to kill time on a boring day. Welcoming.

What we have heard - November 9, 2015: one session, family oriented, written and and email submissions

  • Flat roof area, open to air, chairs, outdoor activities, observation.
  • Make sure railings on porch / deck are see through for younger visitors.
  • A "snoozle room/area" (mood, quiet, relaxing, black lighting, music through headphones - Summer Street Industries has one).
  • Music library - downloadable (local musicians?)
  • Public art participation projects (like the mosaic front bench in Antigonish).
  • Greenhouse, garden planters.
  • Hammocks!
  • Rolls of paper for impromptu projects.
  • Big digital display (like Yarmouth visitor's centre).
  • Puzzle and chess tables (with drawers for pieces). Make sure there are sides and have a "log book" for puzzle users.
  • Magnet board walls (magnetic paint) for art display.
  • Skylight with clouds (painted on ceiling - offered help).
  • Visually appealing, interesting, exciting entrance that draws you in. Use entrance for receptions, event hosting when library is closed.
  • Upward slanting roof (as in pictures) but not with individual timbers (falling snow and ice hazard).
  • Transition from active street feel to quieter feel then waterfront feel.
  • Strong connection to the Trans Canada Trail, library as a hub of activity supporting the trails.
  • Children's area should be near Water Street.
  • No carpets or if necessary low VOC's and non-microbial.
  • All products in build should have low VOC's. Healthy.
  • Accessibility is critical.
  • Library to be a meeting place with play area.
  • Places to hang coats that are reasonably secure.
  • Lots of glass.
  • Good recycling stations.
  • Window seats/benches.
  • Washrooms - lots and very accessible.
  • Fireplace (in the round?)
  • Cozy areas and nooks.
  • Classes with artists with good natural light (and appropriate artificial lighting).
  • Whiteboard walls for kids to write and draw on.
  • Think of homeschoolers in design, area where homeschoolers visiting and learning should be set up for a range of ages (as homeschoolers come as a group rather than one specific grade).
  • Places for tutoring.
  • One entrance or two for library? Preference is for two.
  • One good entrance to the library and deCoste.
  • Consult with neighbouring businesses so as to respect their needs (access, visibility, etc).
  • Place to bring coffee and lunch.
  • Lots of lights along new walking areas for safety.
  • Where to put circulation desk? Central but also so staff can greet people. Staff are a main reason many people come to the library.
  • Circular or half circle circulation desk. Two heights.
  • On Water Street, an accessible drop off / pick up parking spot, also for dropping off books in book drop. Perhaps near end of Dawson Lane?
  • Aquarium / fish.
  • Outside water feature.
  • Cheerful, colorful walls, use art for this as well.
  • Open spaces but also small spaces as well.
  • Outdoor nook (as seen in PowerPoint image)
  • Bring the patio around the back end of the deCoste more, take advantage of the view and the Jitney Trail.
  • A highpoint or tower for lookout (telescope for viewing)
  • Harbour cam (underwater).
  • A community science exploration room.
  • A strong connection to nature, inside and out.
  • A Guide Book to the Great Tree (Guardians of Ga'hoole) mentioned.

What we have heard - November 8, 2015: one session, written and and email submissions

  • Roof top observation patio.
  • Widows walk.
  • Telescope, astronomy feature (an analema, obelisk).
  • Solstice features/art, sundial.
  • Display space, built-in cabinets, storage space.
  • More open hours in the evening.
  • Parking conflicts, with concurrent events downtown.
  • Acoustics from the street and theatre - into quite spaces in the library.
  • Public art inclusion, local artists (3%).
  • Carved footstools/small seats of wood, featuring animals (a menagerie!) for children's area, or throughout.
  • Conjoined spaces - shared usage of public spaces, youth theatre, music practice rooms, study areas.
  • Loaning of some musical instruments.
  • Bistro/café area... possibly with cafe service.
  • In the front entrance area, very busy streetscape ... quieter towards the back end, facing the water front (secondary entrance).
  • Community kitchen.
  • Family accessibility - bathrooms at a lower height, and kid-proofed.
  • Nice bike rack with integrated locks - that can also be used for strollers, in a covered outdoor porch area.
  • Fish tanks, planters for community/teaching gardens for children's programs
  • Storage area for equipment.
  • Dog watering station, sheltered dog kennels (like Masstown Market).
  • Cultural inclusion of heritage elements, ... people seeing themselves as part of the community space.
  • Sculpture walk.
  • Interior labyrinth.
  • Reach out to Pictou County Continuous Learning Association (Piccola) for inclusion in project.
  • Social spacing, of tiled flooring.
  • Rainbow of stained glass window panes, IWK (donation of little colored window panes).
  • Please maintain some view of the water, to Water street.
  • Round stone patio out front = winter, a small outdoor skating oval /summer = a splash pad for children, or performance area.
  • Outdoor kiosk area = seasonal service for bike, kayak rentals, or tourist information and ensure proper utility hook-ups are available.
  • Include local stone, wood elements (ballast stone, quarried stone, shipbuilding timbers).
  • Telescope.
  • Fireplace.
  • Observatory, astronomical deck.
  • Geocaching (inside the building, in the library).
  • Will the height of the building change.
  • Impact on the deCoste during construction.
  • Will it all be on one level? All accessible?
  • Heating and cooling, & environmental sustainability important.
  • Will there be a dedicated Teen Area?
  • Makerspaces, recording studio/office, storage area.
  • How married will the spaces be? Sharing of some purposes?
  • Youth theatre, music practice, author readings, meeting spaces, study spaces.
  • Programming outreach, artist talks.
  • Engage newcomer and immigrant communities.
  • Use the "sunny side" of Water Street in design.
  • Meeting rooms for events.
  • Café
  • Access to Internet.
  • Convenient bookdrop.
  • Computer learning lab.
  • Self checkout.
  • Wheelchair accessible.
  • Fireplace.
  • Recording studio.
  • Stage.
  • Patio areas.
  • Books for learning new languages.
  • Foreign language books for newcomers.
  • Song circle
  • Old stone and clap board on the outside
  • Dock posts for bike racks outside or outside seating.
  • Dog water stations in the front and back of the building
  • Nautical themes reflective of shipbuilding and maritime past.
  • A nice floor motif of ships, perhaps of ships that were built here in Pictou.
  • Inside could have port holes in the walls
  • Indoor hammocks in the teen or children areas.
  • Love the idea of the building being green, if we can make 2 place (library and Decoste) self-sufficient it may encourage more people to do this.
  • The fire place in the adult area is lovely idea with leather back chairs (again Nautical) and old (looking) trunks.
  • Activities (submitted on paper by participant): live theatre preformances (puppetry, mime, masks), book launches, movie days, pre-teen knitting, kinetic engineering (making things move), lego, after school drop-in (gaming, art, hands on science, health),holiday crafts, chess club, homeschoolers at the library, printmaking, language skills program, drawing classes, family game time, coding hour, STEM programming (Science Technology Engineering Math), Mad for Art Series - various artists, all things minecraft, CEED workshops and entrepreneur education, coloring drop-in, Pokeman trading club, holiday cooking and decorating, yoga classes, general health classes.
  • Comment submitted in writing afterwards: Regarding the extension close to the street - if it was rounded, sort of like half a rotunda, and wrapped backward towards the deCoste wall about where the Murray Room bar is, it would create a sort of a sheltered alcove which could provide a new entry. Then the existing big windows could be extended right over to the entrance by Dawson Lane. The patio (stone?) could fit curve organically between the bulge of the rounded part and where the windows are, and extend across the front of the building to access Dawson Lane via stairs or ramp along the west side of the building. The front west corner of the property could still have a garden and a couple benches, sculpture, pergola (too busy-busy?) or the like.The bulge/half-rotunda could house the children's section. I think teens might enjoy the patio at the front. I like the pic of the 'hole in the wall' for teens in Scandinavia (image part of Powerpoint) - there might be an option here to do something similar.

November 5, 2015: one session and email submissions

  • Keep the positives the deCoste facility now has (particularly mingling and intermission areas). Natural light, windows, and views.
  • Ensure easy access to new deck area from deCoste auditorium and mingling intermission areas.
  • Repurpose Dawson Lane. Request Town decommission it as a street and redesign as trail link from Main Street entrance to Jitney Trail with lighting. Retain and celebrate Dawson name.
  • Will this project increase my taxes? Financial sustainability needs to be strongly considered.
  • Ensure the entire facility acts as one complex, maximum shared use of spaces and one main, welcoming entrance that provides a "statement" about Pictou and area (unique).
  • A "green" facility is a must, not only for environmental sustainability but financial sustainability for both library and deCoste.
  • Creating a "green" facility as a source of community pride and learning.
  • A water wall or water feature.
  • Public art and involvement of the artistic community is critical.
  • All cultures should be reflected in the design through art, features as part of the structure/design. Use materials with a link to the history of the area (wood, stone, fossils, quarries, shipbuilding, forestry, etc.)
  • Respectful of the area's history and tell the story of the town and all of its people.
  • Fireplace.
  • Coffee and refreshments available.
  • Arts area, not only for display but for demonstration/instruction also.
  • Circulation/reception desk could incorporate elements of the Hector story as a symbol of arrival.
  • Tourist information presence for the downtown, including shoulder seasons.
  • Front street area should have a "Main Street, gathering area, café type" look and feel.
  • The facility should exceed accessibility standards for an aging population (washrooms, doors, larger washroom stall availability.)
  • Consider older adults and those with arthritis/joint challenges when selecting furnishings.
  • Use local artisans for furnishings where possible.
  • Think of the Water Street curb appeal in the design, particularly pedestrian traffic coming from all directions (just not one-way vehicular traffic).
  • Bicycle and recreation equipment rental - work with Town recreation.
  • Think of garden and green spaces throughout the project for both inside and outside. Engage with the garden club.
  • Fish tank or live fish feature.
  • A dog friendly area with covered watering station, hitching post, and dog biscuits.
  • Rocking chair.
  • Careful construction so as not to lose all the trees, relocate some and re-purpose the wood in the building for others.
  • Lots of accessible parking.
  • Community demonstration kitchen in community room.
  • Carrels for study and home based business people. Also for tutoring purposes.
  • Family washroom.
  • Clear signage from rotary, through town and to facility.
  • Bicycle racks, small boat storage (kayak, rowing shells).
  • Consider floor covering careful (health).
  • A real need for a public gathering place for Pictou and area.
  • Outdoor performance areas.
  • Community office space for short term usage (festivals, tutoring, projects, etc.)

November 4, 2015: two sessions and email submissions:

  • More room for informal group activities (ie: reading circles, knitting circles) with storage.
  • Community demonstration kitchen
  • An environmentally sustainable building, "green", (ie: geothermal, solar, cutting edge options), natural materials, fresh air.
  • Accessible and convenient washrooms suitable for occupancy of both facilities.
  • Washrooms accessible by general public.
  • Family washroom.
  • Improved and adequate lighting around building and site.
  • Building should relay a statement about the community.
  • Need for building to engage both the street and waterfront.
  • Street entrance (main). Common entrance for all activities? Need to keep clarity for all users of the building.
  • Effective use of shared spaces important. There needs to be a gain in functionality and opportunities by bringing the two facilities together.
  • Parking. Recognition that parking is important for downtown and facility success. A better rationalization of parking in the surrounding areas to accommodate this.
  • Lots of glass, natural light.
  • View planes from inside the building to the water/waterfront and activities on the waterfront.
  • Street presence, activities on patio area next to street.
  • Stone and wood in building materials.
  • Respectful of the surrounding architecture.
  • Opportunities for teens.
  • Welcoming for teens through activities.
  • Sound recording booth/studio (as in Halifax Central Library). Involve local musicians with youth.
  • Need quiet and contemplative spots.
  • Electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Walkability to and from the facility to other destinations in Pictou.
  • Express community pride, particularly in "green" features.
  • Look for other facilities that have successfully combined a library with a performing arts venue.

Your ideas are needed. If you are unable to join us at the consultation sessions please feel free to contact:

  • Eric Stackhouse (Chief Librarian) Email: info@parl.ns.ca Phone: 1 (866) 779-7761 OR
  • Contact the Pictou Library at 40 Water Street, Pictou. Email: pictou@parl.ns.ca Phone: (902) 485-5021


Town of Pictou
deCoste Entertainment Centre
Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library
Municipality of the County of Pictou