On my way to see a friend’s exhibit at Gallery 1313, Queen Street West, a blue and white library sign stopped me in my tracks. Not wanting to waste a library-visit opportunity, I took a quick art detour to Parkdale Library. (Four years after this evening visit, I returned to the site with my camera).
To walk into a warm library on a cold night is very comforting, like visiting a favorite aunt after a neighborhood snowball fight. She naturally offers you hot chocolate and a knitted blanket to wrap around your shoulders.
The 45th TPL branch I visited consisted of one huge room with a long mural high on the south wall. The mural featured colorful abstract shapes, though not so abstract that I couldn’t identify a whale, a cow, a bird, and some eggs. With two eggs resting to its left, the clock looked eggier than most clocks.
On the west side of the library, I saw a homework room, two quiet study rooms, and a community outreach office. In this office, a staff member was talking to numerous clients in a friendly, non-patronizing manner.
Along the south wall and part of the east wall were books in Vietnamese, Polish, Gujurati, French, Russian, Spanish, and Chinese. (On my recent visit, I saw Tibetan and Tamil books but not Russian ones).
I was impressed with the variety of activity at Parkdale Library. I observed a computer class in progress, three men discussing social issues at a study table, and all of the children’s computers in use. The homework room hosted two families studying intently, and one student was camped out near a potted palm in an armchair, his books, notebooks, and backpack strewn about comfortably. With so much light and energy inside, the room was a haven in contrast to the cold and darkness outside I experienced on my initial visit to Parkdale.
As I exited the library last Friday, I noticed an art-gate that had escaped my attention previously (even when I passed it on the way to a Gaga Dance program earlier this year). It seemed to be a companion piece to the globe sculpture outside. Attached to the gate were eight red book spines with an unfortunate resemblance to dynamite. The books represented eight countries: Sweden, Russia, France, Slovak, Spain (with the “s” scraped off by a vandal), Italy, Germany, and Poland.
Thinking I had finished my blog work, I started walking east along Queen Street West. I had tucked my camera away too soon, though, for a charming mural by Maureen Walton next to the library building immediately captivated me. It was the perfect visual to summarize a morning immersed in the urban creativity of Parkdale!