Halifax Central Library opens to the public
New building to be what 'Eiffel Tower is for Paris'
Thousands of people poured into Halifax's new library during Saturday’s grand opening.
More than 10,000 people visited the Halifax Central Library during its official grand opening Saturday.
The reaction from everyone CBC spoke to was overwhelmingly positive.
"It’s fantastic. What a wonderful thing for Halifax to do. It’s unique, it’s innovative, it’s right off the charts — and I can’t believe the city actually took it on and completed it and it’s wonderful," said one of the visitors.
At an estimated cost of $57.6 million the building has been touted as the new architectural centrepiece of the city's downtown core.
The 129,00 square foot facility features a larger collection of books than the building it is replacing, as well as meeting and study rooms, technology areas for computers, cafes and a 300-seat auditorium.
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage calls the building, which features a cantilevered rectangular glass box on the top, a "powerful and positive statement" about the city's aspirations.
The mayor calls it an exciting day for Halifax.
"If you don't believe in love at first sight, wait ‘til you walk in here. It’s cool for a bunch of reasons, first and foremost, it’s an accessible, inclusive space where people will come together and learn to read — but also have a bit of fun," said Savage.
"Kids can play, teenagers can make music — these are all the things, when I was a kid, you didn’t do at libraries."
'A beacon for our city'
Danish architectural firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen designed the building with Halifax partners Fowler Bauld & Mitchell.
The federal government is contributing up to $18.3 million and the Nova Scotia government $13 million towards the cost of the project, with the remainder being funded through the municipality and a public funding campaign.
Four hundred pairs of safety scissors were given out for the community ribbon cutting for the building's grand opening.
"We're not a book warehouse. There's no 'Shh' anymore. This will be a place for people to make it whatever they want it to be," said Bruce Gorman last month, director of central library and regional services at Halifax Public Libraries.
"It'll be an icon, a beacon for our city, like the Eiffel Tower is for Paris."
He said libraries are changing — and the one in Halifax is unique.
"When you walk into a library you wouldn't normally think you can grab a coffee, log onto our Wi-Fi and watch the sunset on a patio," said Gorman.
CBC’s Anjuli Patil is there. Follow her as she live tweets the opening.
With files from The Canadian Press