Not to disrespect my local library, but it hasn’t changed much in decades. The building is old, the furniture dates from about the 1970s, and there is NO AIR CONDITIONING. (They closed a couple of times last summer because of the heat.) I love the librarians and the books, but the building needs a major upgrade. There are plans for that to happen, unfortunately, that is still a long time from now. Maybe I’ll write about that someday.
Another library right here in my province, but not my library, did get a completely new building and I was lucky enough to visit it this summer.
The Halifax Central Library located on Spring Garden Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia opened to the public on December 13, 2014. The building was designed by Danish firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen and Fowler Bauld & Mitchell of Halifax. It’s been nominated for several awards including the shortlist for the World Building of the Year Award.
But enough about that, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. There are five floors of books. On the main floor, you’ll find the bestsellers. There’s also the Paul O’Regan auditorium, a 300 seat performance space. It’s pretty fancy. You could put on a play or do a lecture there.
I spent some time looking at the art installation on the first floor, Library Cards, 5000 tiny paintings. Each one is unique, you could spend a whole day just looking at them.
Up on the second floor is where you’ll find the teen and children’s section, as well a family reading area. There’s also a Media Studio with 2 recording studios in this area. So if you want to finally launch your music career, that’s the place to go!
The third floor contains a bunch of meeting areas (First Nations, adult learning, study spaces), multimedia material and of course more books (languages and magazines). I checked out the languages section, but had no idea what the books were about! On the fourth floor, you’ll find nonfiction, reference and history. It’s also where I took this dizzying photo of the main floor.
As you can see, it’s quite bright and open. Since the outer walls are mostly glass, the views are amazing. There’s cozy seating everywhere. I don’t know how I would be able to study if I was a student. Because the space is so large, it looks like there are hardly any books, even though according to the library FAQ the collection is 40% larger than it was at the old location.
Now, for my favorite part: the fifth floor. It’s the coziest spot in the library since it’s smaller than the lower floors. It houses the fiction collection and the nicest little cafe, Pavia Gallery Espresso Bar and Café. (The main cafe is on the first floor, but I didn’t visit it.) I bought a Herring Cove Fog (a tea latte) and a cookie. The cafe opens up into a rooftop terrace where you can sit and enjoy the view of Halifax Harbour. It’s also a green space where local bog-type plants grow. I’ve never seen happier bees!
My visit to the new Halifax Central Library was the highlight of my vacation. I’m so jealous that it’s not my library, but I will be spending time there whenever I can.
I didn’t take a lot of interior photos because I felt weird taking pictures while people were quietly reading. If you want more photos, you can visit the library’s online gallery. Please do, there’s a lot more to see!
Thanks, Chris, for sharing about your library! Visit Chris @ Chrisbookarama and leave a comment or question for Chris below to let her know you enjoyed her post!!