100 Libraries

"A library is also a place where love begins." – Rudolfo Anaya

Tag: Art and Artists

014 Fairview Library

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Fairview Library is a large district library, tucked away behind the behemoth shopping mall CF Fairview Mall. Its proximity to the mall is surprising, given that such a large library is ensnared by this massive retail space. The Branch was relocated from a previous rental space at 5 Fairview Mall Drive and officially opened in 1976. Included in this opening was the 292 seat community theatre that is still functional today. Although the two entities share a space, and often collaborate on programming, they are still two separate and autonomous organizations.

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The current Fairview Library was renovated from 2012 – 2014, with both the Library and the Theatre undergoing a major transformation. The addition of an airy study space, replete with windows gives the older concrete bunker a more open and welcoming feeling. The natural light cannot be understated in this building.

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Part of the charm of this Branch is the broad array of users, using its many resources. The Library serves a diverse community of new (and old) immigrants, young families, elementary and secondary school students and the elderly. Among their diverse collection is a multilingual collection that includes Tagalog, Hindi, Urdu, Chinese, Gujarati, Persian and Tamil. The student population was strongly represented upon my visit (since it was the end of a school day). In fact, not only is Fairview a popular after school spot for local students, it provides one the most diverse array of programming. Fairview may offer the most programming options in the Toronto Public Library System.

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012 North York Central Library

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North York Central Library is probably one of the most diverse collections in the Toronto Public Library system. As a caveat, I must advise that no amount of writing in this post will do this library justice. It is a massive, six floor complex attached to the North York Civic Centre (seven if you count the study floor on ground level). This branch opened in 1987,¬†replacing an earlier branch, the Gladys Allison Building. The name North York Central Library is in reference to its proximity to the pre-amalgamation North York Civic Centre. Immediately surrounding the Library is Mel Lastman’s Square, where you will find community events and farmers markets in the summer and skaters in the winter.

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IMG_6476If the interior of the Library reminds you of the Toronto Reference Library, this is no accident. The library was designed by Moriyama & Teshima Architects, the same architects that designed the Reference Library. The vast expanse of the Library incorporates six floors with six separate collections, separated by an open atrium. A word of warning, staring down the middle of the library is not for the faint of heart. On the First Floor, you will find the Children’s Collection and the Teen Zone. The wide array of children’s holdings is surrounded by an inviting wall covered in fanciful creatures and colours. My favourite was the moose above the reference desk. The Second Floor is home to both the Fine Art and Literature and Language Collection, as well as the Art Gallery on the opposite side of the atrium. On the Third Floor is the Society & Recreation Collection and Library Administration. The Fourth Floor houses the Business and Urban Affairs Collection and the Collections Development Department. The Fifth Floor is devoted to Science and Technology. Finally, the Sixth Floor is home to the Gladys Allison Canadian Room and Canadiana Collection.

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Sadly, I did not get an opportunity to explore all of the floors at length. I did, however, stop to see the Canadiana Room and Collection. The Canadiana Room features many genealogical resources that are otherwise unavailable to many family history enthusiasts in the Greater Toronto Area. This includes national censuses from other provinces, Early Upper Canada Land registries and other genealogical data. These are all made available through the many volumes littered around the floor, as well as on microform (microfilm and microfiche). Afraid of microform readers? ScanPros got you down? Have no fear! The reference staff on the floor will teach you how to use both the collection and the microfilm readers.

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As a special bit of trivia, the Canadiana Collection also features a large ornamental lion from the Golden Lion Hotel (go figure). His name is Henry and he is on permanent loan to the Novotel Hotel, which is just behind the Library.

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This is a library that definitely deserves more time towards its exploration. Every floor is an adventure in and of itself and I will definitely have to go back.

 

006 Queen / Saulter Library

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From the outside, one would assume that from the age of the building, the Queen/Saulter Library was one of the original library buildings in Toronto. In fact, this library location was only opened in 1980, occupying an older postal station. You may recognize the architecture as the handiwork of one E.J. Lennox, who was also responsible for Old City Hall and Casa Loma, among other iconic buildings in Toronto.

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IMG_6342As mentioned, this Library was once Postal Station G, and that fact is commemorated with a hand painted plaque outside of the building. This neo-classical space is not solely inhabited by the Queen / Saulter Library, it also houses a community centre and day care. In fact, you will find a window above the Children’s Collection in the back that looks directly into the day care. I know this because I accidentally made eye contact with one of the Early Childhood Educators on staff there.

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The interiors of the Postal Station have been painstakingly kept and remodelled to fit the needs and functions of a public library. The Reference Desk preserves the original marble counter tops of the Post Office counter. The Library also allows local artists to display their work in various gallery and display areas.

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The community that the Library serves is largely young professionals with families and their Story Time offerings are very popular. There is a dedicated children’s programming area in the back of the Library, which is both elevated and separated from the rest of the library.

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Special thanks to Judy Leung for showing me around the Queen / Saulter Library!