Posted by: libraryexplorer | January 22, 2010

Initial Impressions

It is Friday morning, 9:02am, and the library has just opened. One person is already sitting at a table by a large window. He’s engrossed in whatever it is he’s reading. His back is to the rest of the library, a large, open-aired room with many shelves of books, computers, tables, signs, and comfortable chairs.

A view of the south window, the children's section.

By 9:30, when I leave, several more groups of patrons occupy the library. As I walk out of the library I pass three men using the internet workstations; one woman browsing the children’s stacks with a child; another woman helping a young child use a computer while keeping an eye out for a younger sibling who plays with toys; a man browsing a display of recommended books; two librarians behind the circulation desk; and that same man I first noticed at the table by a large window.

The library side of the community centre.

I enjoyed the half hour I spent at the East London branch of the London Public Library. The building is only about five years old. The newness shows in the cleanliness of the floors, windows, washrooms, and furniture. From my first picture you can see that the library is part of a community centre. The YMCA used to run a fitness centre, which has since moved away, but continues to operate a childcare program.

The YMCA Childcare side of the community centre.

Although I arrived by car, three LTC bus routes go past the community centre: 2B, 7, & 37. The main entrance to the community centre from the medium-sized parking lot is large. Once a patron enters the doorway, he/she sees a sign 4 metres down the hallway that points to the library’s entrance. Off that same hallway are doors to the washrooms, several meeting rooms, and a multi-use room. A large bulletin board with community events posters hangs in that hallway.

Community events bulletin board.

Upon entering the library I am in a short, spacious corridor. To the left hangs a bulletin board with library events posters, and on the right a library materials drop box. The circulation desk sits at the corner where the short corridor turns into the library. The library’s materials sit on shelves in this large room. The rectangular room stretches from one wall of southern exposure windows that face the street on my left, to an opposing wall of windows with a view of residential houses beyond a wooden fence on my right. The high, light-coloured ceilings give the room a brightness that contrasts with the coziness of the carpet, furniture, books and forest green eastern wall behind me.

Comfortable furniture for reading near the magazines.

With strategically placed shelves, tables, and computers, the large room feels like a conglomerate of separate areas merged together seamlessly. If one walked from south to north, one would walk through a large children’s section past 3 CD ROM computers, and 4 internet workstations, past adult non-fiction, past audiobooks, CDs, videos & DVDs, and spy 7 internet workstations. Two computers for catalogue-searching overlook the hub of computers, which are located beside a separate meeting room. Around the corner is the “Teen Annex”, which looks over a table to the adult fiction. At the north end of the library, just beyond adult fiction, near comfortable chairs, are many magazines. I didn’t even mention the video/DVD viewing station and the “Discover Place” that displays new and recommended materials, and the photocopiers, all of which sit in the middle of the library, near the circulation desk.

The Teen Annex section.

Throughout the library large, bright, colourful signs hang from the ceiling, directing patrons to the materials or locations they seek. All the above locations I mentioned are beautifully and professionally labeled in English with no pictures. The circulation desk is also clearly identified with an English.

I want to learn more about the demographics of the people who make up the neighbourhoods surrounding and nearby the East London Public Library. Stay tuned for more details as I explore the community served by this branch library.

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Responses

  1. I really enjoyed how you presented your visit like a story, describing everything so well. I think it will be interesting to compare how we view the library’s space and resources, bringing them together at the end for our presentation. =)


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