5. Capilano Branch. To get to this library, I took the #4 bus that I always take home from work, and continued to the east end of the line. The Capilano Mall looks promising from the outside, I’d always thought when riding by it in a car, but I probably wouldn’t go there again, with Bonnie Doon closer and Southgate now on the LRT. The library is on the small second floor of the mall, across from the elevator. I didn’t see an escalator or a staircase.
The returns are in a slot outside. A library staff member sits at a desk facing the door welcoming people. The branch is quite small, and it’s in a space without inherent charm. It’s telling that the webpage on this branch doesn’t mention the collection size, but does mention that the armchairs are full by mid-morning. I’d call this my least favourite of the Edmonton libraries, so far.
6. Whitemud Crossing. This is a big and very busy branch library, one of the ones that’s open on Sundays in winter. It’s in a new-looking block of shops just south of Whitemud Drive, and is easy to get to by car and to park. They have a good-sized section for science fiction and fantasy, automated return checkin machines, and a lot of magazines arranged by theme. (Curve and Ebony don’t count as “Women’s” magazines, but decorating-lifestyle magazines do.) With high ceilings and windows on two sides, the facility was surprisingly noisy, but since I was just browsing that didn’t bother me. I’d definitely go back if I had a car and wanted a change of scene.
The Edmonton Public Library has 17 locations. (It hasn’t had bookmobiles since 1995, though).
Before this week I had been to two, Strathcona and the downtown one. Now I have been to four.
eplGO is a one-room public library inside the engineering library on campus. It was added at the end of the recent renovations. It seems to contain mostly new paperback fiction attractively displayed, with a small section on stuff related to careers and job-searching. When I was there, there was one employee re-shelving, an automatic checkout machine, and a box to drop off returns. And my returns got recorded into the system that same day, which makes it very handy – and it will be even handier when I’m biking. It’s also possible to have public library holds delivered there, so I might try that next winter. (Not embarrassing ones!)
Idylwylde is a branch library in the north end of the Bonnie Doon mall parking lot, in the same building as a Health Unit. While it was being renovated last year the library was somewhere in the mall, but I never got around to visiting it then. From the outside, I noticed a wall of big windows that had the word for Library written across them in many languages, and I could vaguely see books through the windows. It turned out that there were shelves of manga and other graphic novels attached across the inside of the glass – an appealing presentation. There was a gas fireplace and armchairs, computer carrels, a bigger teen section than small-children’s section, a staff-picks display and a 1-week-borrowing display but no other theme displays or new-books section that I could see. I took a picture but my home internet is misbehaving and the tethering connection is insufficient.
The Kingston Frontenac Public Libraries also has 17 branches, because it doesn’t just cover the small city but the whole county, some of which is quite rural or on islands. Some of the branches are tiny and open as little as four hours a week. The last year I lived there, I started a project to visit all the branches, but I only got to four or five. So I think I will do it here instead.