Libraries, Old and New; WOTS

One of the (increasingly) few memories I have from my pre-school life is of waiting for my fifth birthday so I could get my own library card. You had to be five, but you also had to be able to print your own name! img003The library in my hometown of Truro, Nova Scotia in 1965 was an old wooden structure, and the children’s department was at the very top of a very steep set of stairs – I remember the excitement of climbing those stairs, wondering what treasure I’d take home that day. Sadly, I couldn’t find an image of that library online, but this is my hometown (Wolfville, NS) library now, formerly the train station, back when we had trains! I’m a frequent visitor.

Wolfville Library

Last week, I finally got to see the new Halifax Central Library while I was there reading The King of Keji at The Word on the Street. It’s stunning, as you can see. halifax librarySo spacious and open inside with sweeping staircases, downloadcomfortable seating, very kid-friendly, there’s a coffee shop and you can even check out your books yourself by scanning your card and the book barcodes. Librarians are some of my favourite people (especially the fabulous women at the Wolfville Library!), and I feel like that social interaction is a huge part of the library experience for so many people; hopefully the scanning option won’t eliminate that for those who aren’t in a hurry.

And a shout-out to the MANY volunteers who organized and delivered an excellent Word on the Street experience for one and all at the Halifax Central Library last weekend. download (1)This was the first year WOTS was run entirely by volunteers, and it seemed very well thought-out and lots of people came out to show some love for local books, writers, booksellers (yay, Woozles!) and literacy. Thank you!

How’s your local library these days?

About janlcoates

I'm a Nova Scotia children's author. My first picture book, "Rainbows in the Dark", was published in 2005, by Second Story Press. My young adult novel, "A Hare in the Elephant's Trunk" was published in the fall of 2010, by Red Deer Press.
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12 Responses to Libraries, Old and New; WOTS

  1. Darlene says:

    You look so cute! I too have fond memories of going to the library in the city. We lived on a farm and we didn´t get to it very often so I would load up with books. I still get that warm and happy feeling when I enter a library.

  2. mirkabreen says:

    Whoa, that is some library! I’m coming over…
    Ours looks a bit like it, but sadly it is not well stocked. Budget cuts, we’re told, show that a beautiful space can be underutilized when the city has other priorities.
    My childhood library was much more modest, and also, like you, a mainstay for my friends and me. Our great frustration was that they limited us to taking two books a day, and we couldn’t return them the same day and take others. We learned to take out thicker books to last out the day…

    • janlcoates says:

      Oh, I’d forgotten about that limit. I think ours was three. Today, I don’t think there is a limit, which is interesting. I often read ebooks from the library on my computer (since my Kobo mysteriously broke recently) – not sure what ebooks are doing to diminish the number of books on library shelves… There’s still nothing like holding a book in your hands, is there?

  3. Nancy says:

    I feel certain there must be a photo of that former Library floating around somewhere. It was rather a magnificent (albeit aged) looking structure with those big pillars at the front of it. You have described the experience perfectly! My first job was working as a page at the CEHRL. Oh, how I loved wandering those aisles to re-shelve the books.

  4. Sarah Emsley says:

    It was wonderful to hear you read at WOTS — and the new library is such a great space. I’ve been a fan of the Halifax libraries for many years, ever since my childhood visits to the Spring Garden Road branch, and for the past several months it’s been a real pleasure to visit the new building. I love writing there, or meeting friends for coffee, or wandering and browsing, or just looking at the views of Halifax from the top floor.

    Lovely picture of you! I’ve been to the Wolfville Library only once, and I’d like to visit again.

    • janlcoates says:

      No time like the present to visit the Valley – it’s apple season! It was lovely to meet you and Gail (I think that was her name?) at WOTS. Visiting schools is one of my favourite parts of being a writer – since I’m still only about 11 on the inside:)

  5. You looked adorable! And I love your library. Mine (over here in Singapore) is excellent, too. Well-stocked though a little slower in bringing in the latest titles, as compared to the libraries in the U.S. and U.K. I still have my first library card, obtained about 30 years ago.

  6. janlcoates says:

    That’s a great keepsake. My card is long gone, I’m afraid. Singapore – wow! Interestingly the Singapore library system has some of my (Canadian) books in various branches – I didn’t realize how books could travel until I became an author, but it’s so great! Thanks for stopping by.

  7. WOW…now THAT is a library! The libraries here in my area are thriving, mostly because people use the computers to get on the Internet. You can also check out e-books through them, and it’s gotten easier to get the books from the website to your device! At first it was just way too much trouble.

    Stephanie
    http://stephie5741.blogspot.com

    • janlcoates says:

      Hey, Stephanie – thanks for saying hi. My e-reader recently broke, and I have to say I’m missing it, especially when traveling. Congratulations on all your books – I’ve been querying US agents for the past year, but there are few Canadians who have US agents. Cheers!

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