City investing $45 million to upgrade Octogone library in LaSalle

The City of Montreal is investing $45 million to upgrade the L'Octogone library in La Salle seen here in this rendering. (Photo courtesy Design Montreal/Anne Carrier Architecture)

The Octogone library in LaSalle is getting a long overdue makeover thanks to a $45-million upgrade from the City of Montreal.

Apart from the Aquadome, The Octogone is the busiest municipal building in LaSalle, but the aging concrete structure is in need of renovation.

The new Octogone will still be on the corner of Dollard and De La Verendrye and will be expanded to a much larger footprint along with outside meeting places.

"Twelve years is a long time to wait for a library, for a community place," said Magda Popeanu, the vice-president of the executive committee and the Montreal culture minister, in reference to when the original plan was put in place.

A view of the "Place des ados" at the Octogone library, seen here in this rendering. (Photo courtesy Design Montreal/Anne Carrier Architecture)

More than a decade later, the price tag for the new Octogone has almost doubled due to increased prices of construction materials and added technology to the library.

The scope of the project has widened because libraries offer so much more than books and movies. L’Octogone will also offer iPad loans, video game terminals, a treasure trove of graphic novels and other activities.

"Of course, it's a cultural place, but it's more than that. This library will be a social place and …. it will be an ecological place," said Popeanu, who promises this cultural hub will be in harmony with the green space around it.

She also said the building will be fully accessible for people with reduced mobility because they want everyone to use this library.

Manon Barbe, the borough mayor, said l'Octogone is also used as a welcome centre for new arrivals to LaSalle.

“We invite the newcomers in the library to just make them aware of all the services in the city and we ask them, ‘how many weeks, how many months since you moved in?’” said Manon, adding that those surveys have revealed that visitors are mostly new to LaSalle.

She says visitors who come by have recently settled within the last two months, noting that "it's a safe place to be".

The new Octogone is expected to open for in-person visits in 2023.

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