Nova Scotia

Library upgrades will allow users to check out a book, head for a hammock

Renovations, including an outdoor library space, are set to begin in September at the Keshen Goodman Public Library in Clayton Park.

$125K project at Keshen Goodman branch includes outdoor hammocks, lots of plants and kids play space

Helen Thexton, branch manager at Keshen Goodman Public Library, says the renovations will create a more welcoming look to the library, with places for socializing and programming inside and out.

Hammocks, plants and a playground aren't features you'd normally associate with a public library.

But a Halifax library has plans to create a new space that encourages users to hang around outside, after they finish picking up reading material inside.

Keshen Goodman Public Library in Clayton Park, Halifax's second most-used library, is getting an outdoor makeover that will wrap around three sides of the building.

It will be one of few facilities in Canada to integrate a multi-purpose outdoor area with its indoor library space.

The library serves a diverse community. (CBC News)

"We're really excited to do an outdoor renovation. Part of it is to address the state of repairs," says branch manager Helen Thexton. 

The 17-year-old library will receive renovations indoors, but the most significant will be the additions to its outdoor space. 

"We want to create a really welcoming look to the library [with] places for socializing and programming on the outside as well as the inside," said Thexton. 

Up to 40,000 teens, seniors, children and recent immigrants come through the doors at Keshen Goodman Public Library monthly. 

Landscape Plan of the Keshen Goodman Public Library outdoor space. (HRM )

"We have a really really diverse set of people that use our library, lots of new families, lots of newcomers, a lot of seniors ... pretty much everyone and anybody," she said. 

In January, the library held a community consultation for feedback about what should be incorporated and how the space should be used. 

They used that information to design a multi-use, movable space. 

"We're going to have some hammocks people can relax on, play spaces for the kids, lots of movable furniture — we heard people wanted to be able to configure the space the way they want it," Thexton said. 

Although there won't be any book collections outdoors, Thexton says the library will encourage people to grab what they can carry and head on out. 

The new children's playground at the Dartmouth North Library has direct access to the building's inside. (CBC News )

In addition to green spaces and hammocks, there will be a designated area for children to enjoy, located on the side of the building.

"We're going to have a fenced-in area and a stage for the little ones." Thexton said.

The budget for the library's interior and exterior renovations is $125,000. Work is set to begin in September and expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the Dartmouth North Library launched its new outdoor space Friday. 

The Dartmouth North Library recently added outdoor leisure space to its site. (CBC News)

Tracy Jordan lives in Dartmouth's north end and regularly brings her grandchildren to the Dartmouth North Library. 

She says the new space is a big improvement.

"The children can go in to the library, come outside play. It's really nice what they did, integrated both the areas," she said. 

Dartmouth North Library user Tracy Jordan says recently added upgrades were much needed. (CBC News)