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Toronto Public Library Pilgrimage of 100 Branches

Disco Branch: Albion Library (1973)

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Located near the intersection of Albion Road and Kipling Avenue, Albion Library’s gritty branch-on-the-edge vibe reminded me of Eatonville Library, which also presses against the outer limits of the Greater Toronto Area. Eatonville was built in 1967 and Albion in 1973: two survivors of groovier times.

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True to the non-conformist decade that produced it, Albion’s dark green and red-orange interior showed a refreshing disregard for pastel niceties. Also in line with a truth-seeking era, the large exposed heating and cooling ducts overhead did not pretend to be respectable. Forty-two years ago, a barefoot patron might have felt comfortable reading a copy of Be Here Now under such non-hypocritical ducts.

Fully shod but sympathetic, I explored the sprawling single-level building, a notebook with doves on the cover in hand. As I circled the branch, I found generous windows, stretches of book-lined aisles, and pleasing zig-zag angles.

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When I wasn’t distracted by poetic patches of sunlight on the carpet, I was studying the amazing range of materials in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Gujarati, Telugu, Hindi, Italian, Punjabi, Spanish, Tamil, Urdu, and Vietnamese. I also admired a glass cube in the middle of the north wing that displayed a busy computer lab.

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IMG_0089IMG_0097IMG_0095The children’s wing provided sheltered reading spots with lively balloons floating overhead, and a giant leaf attached to the wall served as a highly imaginative architectural feature.

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Other animating elements included a landscape collage, a pro-vacation art installation, and a monkey who was swinging over the information desk.

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After buying a few books from the sale trolley, I left Albion feeling cooler than when I came in. And that’s coming from a deeply hip person who blogs about libraries!

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2 replies on “Disco Branch: Albion Library (1973)”

Great coverage of the library my family and friends have used for over 25 yearss. It would have been good to see people from the community actually using the library.

Thank you so much for your comment, Annette. I hear what you’re saying about the importance of seeing how populated Albion is, but I always avoid taking pictures of patrons due to rules about privacy as per library policy.

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