I first visited Sanderson Library seven years ago after spending a few hours at Urban Affairs (the hapless branch that closed in 2011). I then walked from Sanderson to College/Shaw, bringing the day’s total library visits to three. In 2012 and 2015, I returned to take pictures of Sanderson.
Nestled in a busy community centre complex with a pool, outreach facilities, immigrant services, and a greenhouse, this branch felt much more alive than Urban Affairs. At Sanderson, a jug of water in the lobby, the sound of a fussy baby crying, and the presence of a puppet theatre all contributed to a tableau of warm community engagement.
As I wandered through the adult section — extensive with split-level floor, stairs, and a ramp — I admired the large Vietnamese, Chinese, Portuguese, and Spanish collections. Canadian Literature had an impressive showing, as did the ESL and Literacy section.
My favourite Sandersonian feature was its provision of eight window-box seats upholstered with grey carpet. The one I chose to inhabit had a view of the community garden; from my window I saw tall weeds, a greenhouse decorated with children’s drawings, and white butterflies. The seat captured a glorious patch of sunlight, and I luxuriated there in my stockinged feet for over twenty minutes. Easily made happy, reading in window seats is one of my top ten blissful activities.
The scene outside Sanderson Library near the corner of Dundas West and Bathurst was less blissful, however. Two tired unhoused men were sleeping away the steamy afternoon under a tree in the courtyard beside a wide expanse of library windows. Just over their heads was a sign yelling READ in big red letters. Separating the two sleepers was an abstract concrete shape, part bench, part sculpture. And on the sidewalk nearby were some murals of mythical creatures painted by an artist called Victor.
In city with many creative strengths as well as challenges, I’m grateful for libraries like Sanderson that provide a place for all Torontonians to dream in the sun with a book for a spell.
2 replies on “Window-box Bliss at Sanderson Library (1968)”
Catherine, I am in absolute awe of your library blog. I have quietly lurked through it over the past months and so admire your diligence in documenting the fineness and goodness that are libraries. And, I most especially admire your love of libraries which shines through in every post. I have a collection of pictures of various libraries but nothing that comes anything close to your beautiful postings. Thank you so much for sharing. Seriously.
Wow, Celeste, your comment has moved me so much and I thank you from the depths of my heart! I’m so lucky that Robin suggested you as a friend. When I first started writing the blog, I used to wail to my husband, “Nobody reads it!” but I’m very glad I didn’t give up so that a lovely reader like you could come along and enjoy it.