Millennium Library closure extended to middle of January to allow for safety audit, potential lobby redesign

The Millennium Library will remain closed for patron visits until the middle of January, while the City of Winnipeg conducts a safety audit of the downtown facility and considers a redesigned lobby.

The city’s flagship library closed on Dec. 11 after Tyree Cayer, 28, was stabbed to death on the main floor of the downtown facility. Four youths have been charged in his death.

Library users will be able to make returns and pick up holds again at Millennium starting Friday as part of a phased reopening, the city says, but visitors won’t be able to enter the branch for now.

Mayor Scott Gillingham has said the library won’t reopen until some form of additional security is in place, but there are no guarantees airport-style searches involving bag checks and metal detectors will return to the entrance near the intersection of Donald Street and Graham Avenue.

Those measures were introduced at the library in 2019, but were scrapped after backlash from community members.

City staff are now trying to hash out a new security plan with the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 500, which represents library workers, and representatives from a citizen working group, the city said in a statement Thursday.

The city is also starting “a comprehensive risk assessment and safety audit” of the library and will look at making changes to its layout.

That might include “a permanent redesign of the lobby that supports a controlled environment without the use of hostile architecture,” the city’s statement said.

It did not identify a specific full reopening date for the Millennium Library.

The library lobby will stay open to provide access to the parkade and downtown’s weather-protected walkway system, and to provide a space for members of the public to warm up during periods of cold weather, the city said.

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