Tommy Douglas Library

Tommy Douglas Library

Tommy Douglas Library

Welcoming Public Library With a Focus on Openness, Accessibility and Sustainability 

The Tommy Douglas Branch Library, part of the Burnaby Public Library, serves the diverse Edmonds Town Centre neighborhood with a catalog of over 80,000 books and reference materials.

This LEED Gold project was a joint venture between HDR and Diamond Schmitt Architects. It incorporates a variety of sustainable features including a green roof, natural daylighting, geo-exchange heating, and an underground cistern that collects rainwater from the roof that is in turn used for landscape irrigation.

The design of the facility emphasizes openness and accessibility. The main collections room is an expansive space with a high ceiling that reaches almost 28 feet. Exterior glazing adds to the sense of transparency and connectivity between library patrons and pedestrians outside.

Given the importance of the site, which faces the prominent thoroughfare of Kingsway, the scale of the building as viewed from the street influenced the design. The high ceiling contributes to daylighting by allowing high-level light from the clerestory windows to diffuse across the room. The added height helps with the ventilation of the space — automated, high-level windows open to allow hot air to escape, exploiting natural convective forces.

The library has been described by visitors as “light and airy,” and “bright and welcoming.” It is achieving its goal of providing the community with a social gathering place that encourages reading, research, and interaction. According to library statistics, Burnaby residents borrowed 33% more items from the new Tommy Douglas Library in its first full month of operation than they did from the former branch in a comparable month, evidence that the library has opened a successful new chapter for residents of Burnaby.

Tommy Douglas Library
City of Burnaby

Burnaby, BC

17,500 sf (1,625 m²)