Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 24, because our favourite library is stacked
Late last year, ultra-hip book lovers could be seen carrying replica Toronto Public Library tote bags identical to the original except for one subtle alteration: “Library” was spelled “Libary.” The deliberate misspelling was both a sly dig at the mayor’s ill-conceived attack on the library system and a reminder of just how beloved an institution it is—the original TPL totes are now undeniably iconic. And, whatever Ford might say, there’s a lot more to love about the library these days. The first, glorious phase of the Reference Library’s $34-million revitalization is complete: the entrance to the original Raymond Moriyama building is now adorned with a two-storey glass and steel cube designed by the architect’s son, Ajon. The rest of the renovation will steadily unfold over the next year, adding new collaborative learning spaces (with more computers and portable, modular furniture), cafés and galleries and a gift shop. A rotunda on the fifth floor will at last gather the library’s special collections (including the renowned Arthur Conan Doyle collection) in one spot. Other renos are underway across the city, and new branches will open at Fort York and Scarborough Town Centre in 2014. The TPL, as a whole, remains the busiest urban public library in the world (over 19 million visits annually), and its biggest challenge is managing ever-growing demand and dwindling resources. Bookstores may be disappearing from the cityscape, but Torontonians, it seems, haven’t given up on books.