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What do you want to see in the new library?

We were overwhelmed with responses from Coast readers who filled our suggestion box with notes on the new Halifax Central Library.



So many Coast readers submitted suggestions, complaints, wishes and dreams into our suggestion box, and here are just a few. And keep them coming—there are no late charges, either.

A LEED standards building, a fair-trade cafe, a small theatre and a large auditorium, a rooftop garden, space for public art, the best Canadian literature section in Atlantic Canada, a local scene section, green space with trees and lots of reading benches, lots of natural light and fresh air, bike stands, and an iconic building created by a local construction company. –anonymous

Based on what is lacking from many existing libraries in HRM, I'd like to see: storage space for book donations, private spaces for staff to conduct meetings (with actual doors and ceilings), places where young kids can play and spots where teens can talk and laugh without being shushed, quiet study space for those nostalgic for a more "traditional" library environment, green space outside (with benches), an eco-friendly design that makes use of local talent & suppliers, a commitment to economy in purchasing with a preference for Canadian-made items, no contractual obligation to maintain the architectural integrity of the original design or somesuch nonsense (e.g., brass thumbtacks only!!), and, finally, a design that actually does what it's supposed to do: function as a library. –anonymous library staff member

The current location for the HRM Archives is inconveniently located in Burnside. Access to such important historical documents as those housed at the HRM Archives should be more centrally located. It makes sense to also include space for public access to HRM's Archives onsite at the Library, with a Research Room equipped with microfilm reader/printers, large tables, computer terminals to access electronic guides to the collections and, of course, a reference archivist. –a frustrated researcher

Based on the interest shown at events during International Year of Astronomy 2009, I would like to see a new planetarium as part of the new library. Then we could teach people about the night sky, regardless of weather, and in spite of the city's light pollution! To Infinity and Beyond! –Dave Chapman, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

A tropical conservatory on the top floor, which makes up for Halifax Public Gardens being closed in the winter. While it seems to be a ridiculous suggestion, it doesn't seem that way when you visit it at London's Barbican Centre, which contains a spectacularly good Public Library amongst other things.

The Amsterdam Public Library (designed by Jo Coenen) looks breathtakingly wonderful, and makes me want to book a plane ticket ... just imagine if people felt the same way about our library! –Matthew

Plenty of quiet study carrels and wireless internet. Clear passage for those of us with classes on both the main Dal campus and at DalTech (in other words, proper entrances on both the east and the west sides of the building).

Retain those neat community bulletin boards. Classy architecture...I know that is subjective---what I mean is, nothing that might be considered "goofy." Stone, glass and concrete are pretty classy. Faux-stone cladding that seems to be all the rage in this city is not. An elegant, quality building that will stand the test of time---the National Gallery in Ottawa is over 20 years old and it still looks as fresh as ever. Buildings like Gehry knockoffs, in two decades, might look a bit...goofy.

Good public art. Local history/context is important, but please, no lighthouses, lobsters, or any other seafaring theme that has been done to death. Have the NSCAD or architecture students come up with something fresh.

Ensure that the Queen St streetwall isn't dead (that is, have something going on down there, something more than a blank wall or window). –anonymous

I would like a modern, inviting building. Lots of glass to let the natural light in. Something so architecturally stunning that even the tourists will whip out their cameras as they grumble past on the Harbour Hopper. But please, no faux-stone, nor fake heritage. A library is not a condo. Some environmentally friendly aspects would also be ideal, such as energy efficiency and recycled building materials (perhaps from the old library). –Cynthia

Long since are the days when librarians tell us to "shush" and not to have food or drink in the library. I think a nice little coffee shop/lounge would do the trick. My suggestion is an area that is a quiet zone like most university libraries would have. And of course something for the kiddies! Book should equal fun so maybe a play area. We would the next generation to associate books and reading with fun and good times. The key I think is options for patrons like quiet areas and such. Then there is something for everyone! –Stephanie

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