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By Joel Brown
The Galleria shopping mall could be home to a new family member London's Central Library.
Gordon Hume, chair of the Library Board and city councillor, said the space which The Bay department store occupies is currently being considered as a site for the library. Final recommendations would be made to city council this Monday, after which a vote would be taken, Hume said.
Galleria manager David Hall said he acknowledged a recommendation was made to London's Board of Control who will then present the recommendation to the council. However, he said he would not comment further on the matter until a final decision has been made. Hall added the expiration date of The Bay's lease was currently confidential information.
Hume explained the move was necessary as the library's current location between Wellington Road and Central Avenue is insufficient. "We need to double the space that we have at our current location and we felt we needed to move into the downtown core," he said.
Hume listed easier access for commuters, improved handicap access and significant increases in the library's technological capabilities as criteria the board looked at when considering possible sites. He added once the library finally did move from its current location, the board would turn the property over to the city.
Deputy Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco agreed with Hume about the reasoning behind the move, explaining the current 60 year-old location of the library cannot be updated to meet the current and future needs of the community.
The library has been looking to move for the past 15 years, explained Lynda Kirkham, communications officer for the London Public Library. Investigating the possibility of moving to The Bay site began 15 months ago, she said.
"The library would be right in the middle of the shopping experience," said Dan Hasson, owner of Dan Hasson Clothiers in the Galleria. Hasson said he was positive the library would be a beneficial addition to the mall.
"After going to the library, visitors may go to the restaurants, theatre and maybe even [our] store." Hasson said he has heard most people expect 1.2 million patrons to visit the library if moved to the mall, but said he believed the number would be even greater.
The possible move would be of more benefit to the mall than The Bay has presently been, Hasson said. "More disposable income would be available as a consumer may spend money at The Bay and not spend for the rest of the day," he explained. "It would also generate more traffic."
The Galleria is also in need of increased community-based services and businesses yet another reason why the mall would be an excellent place for the library, he added.