A Book Walk

My past few posts reflect some of my travel experiences, so let’s bring it a little closer to home.  Come with me for a walk through the (relatively) brand spanking new Halifax Central Library – Opened December 2014.

In a city settled in 1749, and which celebrates it’s history, change does not come easy.

So, when it became apparent that the existing library building no longer met the city’s needs, a series of public meetings and consultations followed by proposed designs and more public meetings, wringing of hands and fretting ensued.  In the end though, we have this stunning piece of architecture in the heart of our old city.

Designed to resemble a stack of books, the outstanding feature is the 5th floor cantilever over the entrance plaza.

Inside, many public and private spaces are created around the central atrium and its criss-crossing staircases.

The roof-top terrace offers a broad view of the Halifax Harbour, the historic South End and the Downtown (CBD).  Inside, all that glass provides an appealing interaction between the urban neighbourhood and the cosy spaces within. There are small meeting pods, living room-like spaces, an auditorium, community rooms, an enormous children’s  section, banks of computer games as well as…….lots and lots of books!!

And coffee!  Gotta have coffee!

The reference section keeps safe and available the documents which record the history, of which we are so proud.

There are information “booths” on all floors…..

…. And the sparkling main circulation desk is backed by an interesting art installation.  Each of those wee pieces of art on the wall behind the desk is an individual painting.  And each is exactly the size of the card that librarians keep in the pocket of a library book.  Lovely, don’t you think?

The Central Library has been an architectural success, garnering many awards, including the “World Building of the Year Award in the Civic and Community Category”  in 2015 at the World Architcture Festival in Singapore.  But even better than that, with 6,000 visitors per day in a city of 414,000 souls (298,000 in the urban core) Haligonians and visitors alike have embraced this place – making truely the “city’s living room”, just as the designers proposed.

Thanks for walking with me.  Now I’d better get reading before my books are due back…….

These photos were taken with my iPhone just last month (Feb. 2016).

12 thoughts on “A Book Walk

  1. germac4 March 23, 2016 / 4:24 am

    What a stunning library! I think that is the best I have ever seen…something for everyone, and so beautifully spacious and well designed. Your IPhone is doing a good job, is it IPhone 6 or IPhone 6 S?

    • JanetRimmington March 23, 2016 / 1:18 pm

      It’s a beauty, all right. There’s much more here than I managed to capture. My is an iPhone 6. I got it for Christmas. I love the thing.

  2. Norm 2.0 March 23, 2016 / 1:02 pm

    That building is gorgeous. I’ll have to check to out the next time I’m in Halifax. Great shots 🙂

    • JanetRimmington March 23, 2016 / 1:22 pm

      Thanks Norm. Do plan to visit this library. It has so much more to offer than I managed to squeeze into this post. So, maybe set aside a little extra time …. Wishing you a happy Wednesday!

  3. Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread March 23, 2016 / 5:41 pm

    What a stunning library. Ours was built in the late 1880’s and there’s definitely no coffee bar. 🙂 Old, new or stunning, a community with a library is a rich one. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • JanetRimmington March 23, 2016 / 7:47 pm

      Agreed, Judy! Rich, indeed. Seems to me there was was a public conversation here in Canada, a few years ago, on the relevance of public libraries. I do hope that the success of this Central Library has helped to put that silly conversation to rest. Whether I’m at home or away (particularly in Boston or New York) I gravitate to the central public libraries for a sense of the community.

      • Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread March 23, 2016 / 10:29 pm

        Our humble library is always a busy place, and it just feels right to pass your fellow residents while everyone is checking in or checking out. I love it. 🙂

      • JanetRimmington March 27, 2016 / 2:28 pm

        I can honestly (and happily) say that this structure has changed the way we look at libraries.

  4. Outstanding. I love the stacking books design. I love all the windows out onto the world. It makes a connection. And shouts ‘accessible’. My favorite is the pocket card art. That is a brilliant idea. Thanks for the share, Janet. Definitely on my list for my next trip to Halifax. I’ve only had one. I’m due, right?

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