To enter New Toronto Library, I passed under a silver scaffold in the shape of a steeple. Then I emerged into one lovely long hall that looked like the nave of a modest yet funky cathedral with giant orange slices arching overhead.
Potted palms standing tall in so much open space created a very upbeat and oxygen-rich atmosphere. For this admiring patron, New Toronto summoned a host of adjectives: hopeful, clean, modern, cheery, open, orange, green, brown, and cream.
In the east wing of the library, a display of banned books celebrated freedom of speech with titles such as Huckleberry Finn, Harry Potter, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Color Purple. I also studied a colourful exhibit of children’s bookmarks and selected “Books Open Your Heart” and “Make Peace with Books” as my favourites.
Side wings lined the open central hall, and I enjoyed dipping in and out of them like a bespectacled hummingbird, selecting an art book here, a DVD about Venice there, and admiring the ESL, French and Polish collections.
I could have happily spent more time in this uplifting library, but a few more branches awaited visits. The second time I called on New Toronto, I had the luxury of spending an entire Saturday morning there, allowing me to notice details such as the literacy-building carpet, a Halloween tableau, and a shiny bell in the rain outside.
Thank you, New Toronto, for your imaginative architecture, anti-censorship display, and jolly orange slices!