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.

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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).

Warmth

On this rainy December Sunday afternoon, in corner of the brand spanking new Halifax Central Library, a man and a child share a moment. Their position on the cozy sofa under the glow of that floor lamp suggest that they could be at home. But then, I understand that the architect’s aim was to design a space that will become the “city’s living room”. Judging by this intimate scene, and the many others we witnessed, I’d say it’s a great success.

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I Wonder……

It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines who you will be when you can’t help it (Oscar Wilde)

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Between the Santa Parade and the Town Tree Lighting, we popped into the little comfort centre to warm up. That’s where this sweet old print found me. Someone donated it to a fundraising sale, and it was destined to come home with me.

I wonder what stories it could tell.

When I turned the frame over, I saw that it came from Eaton and the date is 1928. Does that mean it is from the former Canadian department store, Eatons? Or some other Eaton?

I wonder who originally bought it, and where did it hang? A child’s room? Across from a window, perhaps, as the colours appear faded. And if so, who grew up in that room? And how long did it hang there? Was it still there until it was donated earlier this month, or tucked away somewhere?

I wonder who the two little girls are in the print? Are they the artist’s models, or purely imaginary? I love that the girls are sharing one book, even though there is a stack of books beside them.

I wonder when the original painting was created? The print might indicate 1928, but the clothing on these little girls looks more like early 1900’s.

Such an engaging little scene…..and one that raises so many questions.