Have a look inside the GTA’s coolest new library

By Jennifer Cheng| Photography by Giordano Ciampini
Have a look inside the GTA's coolest new library

In early September, about 3,500 people stormed Major Mackenzie Drive to check out Vaughan’s new Civic Centre Resource Library—a $15-million Dr. Seuss house–meets–Star Trek spaceship next to Vaughan’s City Hall. With its glass panels, reflective white roof and whimsical curves, the 36,000-square-foot building is a striking departure from stuffy, serious government institutions of old. Here’s a closer look at the community hub, complete with 3-D printers, movable book stacks and 70,000 books, DVDs, magazines and other items.

Most books are displayed with covers out, giving the library the feel of a modern bookstore:


The dotted pattern on the windows not only controls sunlight, but creates sweet shadows in this open meeting area. Guests can retreat to one of eight study rooms with colourful glass walls for extra privacy:


Anyone with a library card can check out a notebook or iPad—no damage deposit necessary. Upon return, it automatically recharges and clears your history:


Everyone has been asking where they can buy these adorable telephone armchairs from the Netherlands with sound-muffling privacy hoods:


Designed by Toronto artist Ania Biczysko, these logs—engraved with literary phrases from Franklin, Where the Wild Things Are and Robert Munsch books—encourage tactile learning. They’re also the gateway to the children’s area, which features heated floors, artificial grass, puppet centres and mushroom seats. Story time just got a lot cooler:


Teens get their own dedicated lounge, too, with a different colour scheme and a whole lot of zombie lit:


Another attraction for the youngsters? Meet the library’s pet milk snake “The Dude”:


City staff, including the mayor, have already expressed interest in using the digital-media “Create It Space” to record videos:


Next to the green screen room, there’s a decked out recording studio and a turntable station:


There’s something for garage bands, too. Don’t worry—sound from the electronic drum kit goes straight to a computer. Who says a library can’t be a temple of rock?


This space was designed to mirror a piazza, with a cafe that sells coffee and snacks. City staff regularly walk over for lunch:


The building wraps around a central courtyard. The red maple “tree of knowledge” represents Maple—one of six communities that make up the City of Vaughan. Families flock to this green oasis (and yes, there’s free Wi-Fi out here, too):


Overlooking the courtyard, there is a 1,000-square-foot rooftop terrace with forest-green aluminum chairs and loungers. “We already have a regular who comes here to sunbathe,” says Vaughan Public Libraries’ CEO Margie Singleton. “But we haven’t asked him to put his shirt back on yet.” The second floor also houses administrative offices and a public, multi-purpose meeting room for corporate events:


Paul Stevens—senior principal of ZAS Architects, which helmed the project—took inspiration from the rollercoasters of nearby Canada’s Wonderland for the design. “Almost nothing looks right. The walls are all slanted,” he says. “We wanted to ensure the building stood out, but we didn’t want it to overpower City Hall or look like something that landed from the moon”:



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