Libraries are pretty great. You can borrow the latest books, magazines, and movies, attend lots of interesting programs and presentations, and have access to technology, among many other things. Most offer similar services, but vary quite differently in size, design, age, and location. This is a list of three cool lending libraries I’ve visited that may be a little different from your local library.
The New York Public Library(The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building), New York City, New York:
Considering that it’s located in one of the largest cities in the world, the flagship branch of the New York Public Library is a pretty happening place. As well as looking like a palace both inside and out, it’s home to the Rose Reading Room, which is as long as a football field and draws researchers from around the globe.
The children’s section features an original Todd Parr illustration, and the stuffed animals that inspired A.A Milne’s Winnie the Pooh books.
Not so much a lending library as a research centre, it’s not hard to be impressed by the elegant architecture and artwork, like the two stone lions that guard the library entrance.
The Halifax Central Library, Halifax, Nova Scotia:
Though it only opened in 2014, the Halifax Central Library certainly knows how to put on a good show. The 5-floor building, which is designed to look like a stack of books, is always on my family’s itinerary when we visit Halifax. We love the comfy reading booths, the open-ness of the library, and the rooftop reading patio.
One year, we even had the chance to participate in a Halifax Explosion Centennial project in their auditorium. As a bonus, the library offers free menstrual products in their washrooms!
The Lunenburg Library, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia:
For a small tourist town in Nova Scotia, Lunenburg has a pretty sweet library. It’s located inside what used to be a school! When Lunenburg Academy closed in 2011, the building was given over to the town, and the first floor ended up becoming the new library. All of the former classrooms are now rooms filled with books, each room housing specific types or genres of books.
The school’s playground is still there, too, so it’s a great place for children to burn off some energy if they’re getting restless. And while different from the sleek marble of the New York Library, the 19th century school’s facade is a charming reminder of days gone by. If the building doesn’t give you that vibe, the cemetery behind it sure will!
Even though these libraries may look impressive, they’re just the same as any other, from the smallest book box to the world’s biggest library(The British Library in London). They lend out books and other materials for free, and are the hearts of their communities. As Andrew Carnegie once said, “A library outranks any other thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.”