Written by Hanna Marie Roseen
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The Halifax Central Library is beautiful and bustling. Built in 2014, the library is open and lets in lots of light. I visited in the middle of the day during a week day, yet there were many people doing their thing and engaging with the library’s offerings.
When first walking into the library I was greeted by an interactive display highlighting and asking for patron’s favorite things to do in Nova Scotia. There was also a book display about Nova Scotia and Halifax, really giving the library a sense of place and making tourists feel welcome.
The world map asking people to put a sticker on where they are from – something that further showed how the library knows it is a tourist attraction, something they embrace rather than get upset by. I imagine this helps cultivate a sense of pride about this library and city.
The floors are well strewn with shelves and study spaces so no one was too isolated or away from the stacks. The kids have their own section that was quite colorful and interactive but a little separate from others who may want a little more quiet.
In a different area I was impressed to find a book display celebrating Female Orgasm Day. It was not located front and center and was not attention-grabbing, but it also was not hidden away in a corner. There were also free pads and tampons in the women’s restroom for those who needed them. This is not something I have seen in such a public space even though menstrual hygiene products are just as necessary as toilet paper.
While having a conversation with some librarians at another branch, I was given a tip to check out a First Nations circle on the third floor. According to these librarians, this circle was the first municipal acknowledgement that Halifax is on First Nations land.
Unfortunately there was little information about the significance and meaning of the circle, but there was a display of books about the local First Nations peoples.
There are stairs going up the center of the library, allowing people to glimpse what others are up to and see much of the library. On the top floor there is a cafe and a rooftop deck where one can sip and read or chat.
I noted how the entire roof is a green roof, covered in moss and smaller plants. Set slightly uphill and many stories high, the view from this floor is especially nice with the Halifax Harbour peeking through the buildings. You can really see how while Halifax may be a smaller city, it is growing.