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Lifestyle

Inside Halifax’s New, Game-Changing Public Library

January 13, 2015

3 years, one month and 6 days after they first broke ground, Halifax Central Library finally opened its doors to the public on Saturday December 13, 2014.

Over 10,000 people visited during its grand opening.  It was a pretty proud and emotional day for a city that so rarely sees creative new architectural development. I saw a lot of people looking teary-eyed (myself included) as they gazed around the beautiful new beacon of Halifax. (Seriously, it’s the nicest thing we have).

IF you live in Halifax and you haven’t checked the new library out YET, get over there! Why are you still waiting? you can read this when you get back. GO!

If you live in Halifax you’ve probably already dropped in to check it out, try the espresso at one of the the two Pavia cafes located inside, and take a look at the new views of the skyline from the rooftop terrace or glass living room.

If you’re a tourist passing through Halifax, this place is definitely one to check out. It’s already been lauded as one of the coolest new pieces of architecture this year by CNN. Even if you’re not into books or architecture, it offers great views of the city, great espresso and Pavia’s daily specialty cupcakes are worth waiting in line for.  

These beautiful staircases make you feel like you’re in an M. C. Escher drawing, or Harry Potter! I bet you could recreate the Penrose staircase if you took a picture from directly above.

Self-automated machines located on each floor make it easy and quick for people of all ages to check out books.

Self-automated machines located on each floor make it easy and quick for people of all ages to check out books.

The beautiful 'living room' area provides a bright and warm space to read, work, or play games while showing off a beautiful view overlooking Spring Garden Road and the Citadel.

The beautiful ‘living room’ area provides a bright and warm space to read, work, or play games while showing off a beautiful view overlooking Spring Garden Road and the Citadel.

Bright and comfy chairs throughout the library provide places to read and work. Some like this green chair of the left include privacy walls, good for having discrete conversations about your favourite raunchy author, or tuning out the world to get some essay writing done. There are also a number of conference rooms you can sign out.

Bright and comfy chairs throughout the library provide places to read and work. Some like this green chair of the left include privacy walls, good for having discrete conversations about your favourite raunchy author, or tuning out the world to get some essay writing done. There are also a number of conference rooms you can sign out.

There are also a number of programs, classes and free lectures that are hosted by the library.  One cool series they’re currently doing is a number of free film screening on the theme of debt. I’m going to be there on February 9th when they show the documentary version of Margaret Atwood’s CBC Massey Lecture, “Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth” (2011).

Many people visited during the opening week just to enjoy the view.

Throughout the library, on signs and windows you'll see some nice graphic design choices.

Throughout the library, on signs and windows you’ll see some nice graphic design choices.

Artist Cliff Eyland grew up in Dartmouth, and went to NSCAD University. He made 5,000 tiny paintings to be installed in the library. They can be seen on the ground floor just the left of the Spring Garden entrance.

Artist Cliff Eyland grew up in Dartmouth, and went to NSCAD University. He made 5,000 tiny paintings to be installed in the library. They can be seen on the ground floor just the left of the Spring Garden entrance.

Don’t forget to try buying a caffé sospeso for good luck and good karma.  It’s a unique gesture of kindness amongst java drinkers and they’re the only place around the city I’ve seen who do it!

The sandwich belt rising up to the floor above in the mid ground of this shot takes books from the book drop and sorts them (and drops them off) at their respective floors.

The sandwich belt rising up to the floor above in the mid ground of this shot takes books from the book drop and sorts them (and drops them off) at their respective floors.

A Few More Cool Things:

  • The building uses 65% less energy than a regular building thanks to its rainwater collecting basement cistern (used for toilets) and green roof.
  • There is a large Local History section, including an aboriginal resource section.
  • Here’s a cool time lapse video of some early sketching a modelling of the building design.

I’m so proud of the city for undertaking and seeing this project through to completion. Hurrah H/LIF/X!

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