Okay, I was able to go to the Toronto Reference Library a little while ago, and I was amazed.
You can tell by my face.
But in all seriousness, the place is like heaven on earth. There are five massive floors, all of which are at least twice the size of my hometown library, the Hastings public library.
So ten libraries for the price of one. Not bad.
But reference libraries are supposed to be huge. There also mainly academia focused, as 4 out of five floors were filled with books you could not take out. But honestly, I was surprised that there was even a floor for the masses and that it was well supported. I’ll give an example. It’s not too uncommon to have a library that has a tv room or something similar. But I’ve never seen it done like this.
So, what’s happening is that each of those weird circular things hanging from the ceiling is audio players. Meaning, that if you stand under one of them, you hear one channel, and if you stand under another, you hear another channel. I was mainly surprised at how effective it was, and I’m guessing that the maker space had something to do with it.
That’s right. The library is home to a maker space, and it’s badass. Lots of well-supported computers (A huge relief from the average library, which is a couple hilariously slow Linux computers, and if you’re lucky, maybe a computer running vista) and a supplies cabinet that takes up the entire 10-foot high wall. I sadly didn’t take a picture, despite it being the easy highlight of my trip there. So you’ll just have to trust me when I say it’s incredible.
I suppose this all leads me back to a weird detail that I saved for last. My favourite author, Cory Doctorow, is actually the reason I decided to come to the TRL. If you don’t know about Cory, He’s an fiction author and has written books such as Little Brother, FTW, and Pirate Cinema and the co-creator of Boing Boing, which is my launch page and will always be my launch page. He’s also the first person I ever followed on twitter.
What I didn’t know is that around my age, like me, he got bored of school. But instead of doing what most people do (stick with it and remain bored) he stopped going to school and started taking the subway to the TRL. When I heard that tidbit, I just had to see what it was like. And I, as you can tell was not disappointed.
So if you are ever in Toronto, or if you live in Toronto, I suggest you pay the TRL a visit. It’s worth it.