Phase One - February, 2008
The first phase of the consultation process was based on meeting with a broad cross section of stakeholders who were invited to attend a series of sessions over a three-day period in early February, concluding with a public meeting on the evening of February 6, 2008 at the Lord Nelson Hotel. The purpose of the focus groups and the public meeting was to re-introduce the idea of a Central Library for HRM and to determine what it is that the residents of the community want to see within the Central Library. The presentation featured examples of how other cities around the world have developed their libraries. The public meeting concluded with a number of key questions that prompted a very exciting discussion amongst the audience.
The outcome of the first set of focus group meetings and the public meeting assisted the consultants in identifying the type of library the community hopes to have in HRM. For those individuals who were unable to attend any of the focus group sessions or the public meeting, a survey was made available at all of the branch libraries and on the Halifax Public Libraries website. The response to the survey was nothing short of extraordinary and had, along with the information gathered at the focus groups and public meeting, a significant influence on the development of the three alternate themes for the building program for the Central Library. These themes were presented at the second round of focus groups and public meeting held in early April, 2008.
The focus groups were composed of representatives from the community who have specific knowledge or could provide insight into various aspects of HRM and could assist in developing the overall content and context of the building program for the Central Library. Throughout the first round of focus groups held in February, 2008, each of the stakeholder groups was well represented. The focus groups functioned at specific interest levels, (e.g. business people, teens); and, the consultants were able to gain insight specifically into what the Central Library could provide for these groups and the benefits that the stakeholders could, in turn, provide for the Library. It was through these engaging and more personalized discussions that the consultants were able to identify recurring themes from each of these groups. These conversations assisted in creating the alternate models which were then presented at the second round of public meetings, ultimately influencing the final shape and theme of the building program.