Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Mt. Pleasant Library Now Open

After some delay past the announced date, the new Mt. Pleasant Branch libary at the new Mt. Pleasant Community Centre is finally open. The address is 1 Kingsway. Here's the web page that has the hours, buses that stop there, etc., on it.

Unlike when the branch was in Kingsgate Mall, it's now going to be open 7 days a week, 9-9. except 9-6 on Sunday. However, it will be closed Dec. 24-26, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day.

After a few trips just looking into the windows(including on the announced opening date when it didn't actually open), I finally went inside.

It seemed to me quite an oddly shaped space and a pretty tight fit to maneuver in some areas. The entranceway is narrow and the checkout desk is right by the door. This would theoretically allow the librarian there to stop anyone who set off the alarm at the entranceway, but I noticed that with long lines and only one checkout clerk they didn't actually have enough staff behind the desk to enforce that.

There are a LOT of computer terminals there, in more than one room, and most of them were busy when I went, not just with people looking up books but also doing other kinds of communication.

I suspect it may not actually have more shelf space than the original Mt. Pleasant Library in Kingsgate Mall had - but of course it has more shelves than the temporary, transitional library in the mall (except paperback racks, which seem to be fewer and are also way in the back). They also don't yet have any racks of used books for sale there. I had brought a bagful of paperbacks to donate, so I hope they will be able to put them out soon.

One of the aunties thought it very convenient that there is a display of new books and fast reads face-out just at the entrance. The face-out shelves should help them make the most of the few new books they can afford in this era of library cuts.

One of the strangest things in this library is a gas-burning fake fireplace, in the back where there are also a few comfortable chairs for sitting in to read. Although the fireplace is completely enclosed in glass, seeing actual flames in a room full of paper seems a bit disturbing.

There are a lot of large windows in the library, but one of the aunties commented she thought it seemed rather dark inside. It will be even darker after the multi-storey condo developments planned for the surrounding properties go up.

The landscaping around the outside is not finished yet. One of the aunties commented that the city must have spent several thousand dollars apiece for the tall trees with root-balls they bought to plant alongside. Some medium-sized trees with root-balls were left on the ground unplanted and unguarded over a weekend and we noticed they had gotten damaged by someone or something.

Despite my minor complaints, I expect to walk over there often. My next request will be for hitching posts where you can tie up your dogs while you go in.

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