Toronto Public Library Pilgrimage of 100 Branches

Don Mills (1962): From Art to Zombies

As I walked through the lobby of Don Mills Library, a title in a book display briefly stopped my momentum: I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It. Then I walked into the library proper and gazed upward to get a sense of the place.

“Warehouse” was the first word that came to mind to describe the main floor, but after a few moments I reconsidered. Although the large square interior reminded me of a box-store, its decorations saved the atmosphere from soullessness.


For instance, I have never seen a warehouse that displayed paper snowflakes. Nor have I observed an endearing bunny and elephant sharing a hot air balloon basket.

2011 (Balloon basket and kites were not in evidence in 2015)

I also loved the soaring kites in the rafters, perfect for such an expansive ceiling.


Over in the children’s section on the west side, I noticed the story-telling steps and play area, where wooden walls created a distinctive space for drama.


The Young Adult wing on the opposite side of the main level also fostered a special sense of place, for its wall-to-floor windows on two sides invited openness and relaxation.


After admiring the east wing, I trotted downstairs. There, I noticed a more traditional library atmosphere, and the basement stacks reminded me of college libraries in the Midwest. The lower level at Don Mills also offered an auditorium, a meeting room, a small study room, and facilities for an Adult Literacy program.

Returning to the upper level, I puzzled some fellow patrons by taking photographs of books. I especially wanted a picture of a “Quick Picks” bag because I’d never seen this innovative option at other TPL branches. The bag contained four books chosen by a librarian, and the commands to “Grab a bag. Borrow them All!” served to combat indecisive dithering at the shelves.

As a district branch with a robust book collection, Don Mills definitely spoils its users for choice. For example, the large French collection yielded a petit vampire with a tail like a turnip root and Jeannot and Margot (or Hansel and Gretel en anglais).

In addition to French, Japanese and Chinese had substantial representation, and there were smaller collections of materials in German, Arabic, Spanish, Persian, and Hindi.

Indeed, Don Mills covered the gamut of the library experience from Art to Zombies. This was more than enough reason for a happy shadow dance!


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