Humber Bay, the 69th Toronto Public Library on my quest, came packaged in a compact square building with dark wooden siding on part of its exterior. I liked how the siding created a jazzy-cabin effect.
The wood motif was repeated inside the library, most prominently in the sturdy check-out station. There, several librarians were performing their duties in a massive oaken puppet theatre. Dark beams loomed over their heads, rested below their hands, and composed the broad columns that framed the desk. (On my second visit, I apologized to the staff for comparing them to puppets, and they graciously assured me there were no hard feelings).
Despite the prevalence of heavy wood and the building’s low ceiling, Humber Bay was by no means claustrophobic, thanks to an east wall composed almost entirely of glass and a trio of windows overlooking a garden. A low wooden reading bench with books tucked underneath served to create a charming ivy nook.
A small but well-furnished branch, Humber Bay offered its patrons books in Russian and Polish in addition to the standard library materials.
In the children’s section was a display featuring the local winners of a bookmark design contest. I especially liked the one that had a Christmas tree reading a book about Christmas at the top of the bookmark. Below the tree floated a blue ghost learning about Halloween. Next down was a turkey studying a Thanksgiving text, followed by a heart, a bookish birthday present, an egg, and a literate shamrock. They all looked happy, even the turkey.
Near the end of my stay at Humber Bay, I sat at a table near the streetside window and wrote down some words to characterize the library: simple, manageable, light-filled, wholesome, enclosed, reserved, and ivy-blessed. Thank you, Humber Bay, for being the best jazzy cabin with an ivy nook I have ever visited!