Last year I started a project to visit all 17 branches of Edmonton Public Libraries, having only seen my local branch and the downtown one. I visited six more, but I only ever got around to writing up four of the visits – and I can’t find the pictures I took on those visits either.
From memory, then:
7. Lois Hole Library is a large brand-new facility set in a huge parking lot in parkland in the west end in the Callingwood neighbourhood (which, as far as I can tell, is pronounced exactly the same as the Ontario town of Collingwood). It’s modern and attractive and spacious, with the kind of high-ceilinged plate-glass foyer that feels like a new arena complex. That part of town is one of the ones that reminds me a lot of Mississauga, meaning that it was probably developed in the 1970s. On this visit I ended up explaining to a library employee what I was doing, because I was showing her the bizarre phenomenon of having two checked-out books (different titles by the same author) which the bar-codes thought were actually one copy of one book. She noticed that I was having my holds sent to Strathcona so she offered to fix it, which is why I had to explain. I went there one Saturday last fall when I had a rented car.
8. Woodcroft Library is a small branch across the road from the Westmount shopping centre. I went there by bus, when I had time to spare doing some other errands north of the river. I don’t remember what I borrowed from that branch; I do remember a nice display of the pro-library campaign signs and buttons that they were inviting people to display during the municipal election.
That brings us to this weekend. On Saturday I pulled over to the side of the road on my way back from Namao (the base) when it looked like I was probably within a developed enough area to find a library. I used the EPL application on my iphone to find the closest library (I just love that concept!) and it directed me to Londonderry.
9. Londonderry Library is actually in the basement of a shopping mall. Despite its low ceilings and lack of natural light, they’ve done a good job with white walls and angled low bookshelves to make it look inviting. The kids’ section and a little bit of browsing space are upstairs at ground/shopping level. Although there isn’t much study/lounge space, the collection is about double the size of that at my home branch.
So now I’ve been to more than half of the current branches (two new branches and two re-builds are planned, and one re-build is under way) . Some of the others I’ll need to visit on weekends when I have a car, but there are still a few that are feasible by bus. And the weekend visiting is easier than it used to be, because now all the branches are open on Sundays except in summertime.