Super-Jones Five

This one should really go up on Unphotographable: All last month the Jones branch used its vitrine to feature two recently-deceased authors, 1980s-American-college-boy fave Kurt Vonnegut and unreadable obscurantist J.G. Ballard. Recherché for a neighbourhood branch? Kinda.

I kept thinking “I really should get a shot of that” on my way in, but it was always too dark in that alcove and I’d already forgotten by the time I left. With any luck, a couple of postings coming up will make it up to you.

Kennedy/Eglinton reopening spectacular

Today I schlepped out to 2380 Eglinton East for the reopening of Kennedy Eglinton Branch. (There isn’t a slash between the words on the outside sign.)

Library branch sits inside bumped-out corner of strip mall

First of all, do you know how hard it is to walk out of Kennedy station and get yourself onto Eglinton? With thunder and lightning going on? I got inside just before the monsoon hit.

It’s a nice place. Better than St. James Town, a similar pig in a poke (i.e., making a library branch out of a couple of rooms somebody handed you). Bruce Stratton, the architect, did a good job carving out discernible zones, but he couldn’t actually point to any feature he was actually “proud” of. (I gave him two chances!) However, every surface that looks real is real, including the countertops, which are genuine Corian®. (It costs more than granite and wears better. Also, how much granite is left in the world?)

Textured surfaces on rounded, three-leaf-clover-shaped tabletop

I chatted with various library potentates. Everybody had heard of this blog, even a librarian who had been shipped in for the day. I was kind of kicking myself for having missed the reopenings of S. Walter Stewart and Jane(/)Sheppard. And apparently the Juliet balcony at Wychwood can’t be used because the building code changed and the railings are too low. Still, they hope to get the same architect who did over Beaches proper (Carter) to reno that branch.

Armchairs sit by glassed-in nook at entrance

A brand-new library has brand-new materials, and I joined in on a proud Scarborough tradition of scrabbling like starving refugees at the new DVD/CD bank, straight out of a record store. (Do those still exist?) It’s an OK way to “merchandise” audio CDs, but it’s lousy for DVDs, since the proportions are all wrong to flip through them. (I knocked over two different stacks.) You really need to see the spines.

They’ve got those infernal self-checkout machines here, which again didn’t work but at least don’t attempt to work in Urdu. There’s a computer learning centre of some kind, complete with large-screen display, that uses every smidgen of its tiny space.

Apparently Version 1.0 of the branch was a total dump and about 40% the current size. (It was just one room with an overlarge circulation desk.) Bloviating councillor Michael Thompson congratulated “the community” for having gotten rid of a disreputable neighbour. I asked a guy – quite possibly a former brakeman of the Russian bobsleigh team – what he was talking about, and it turns out to have been a bar. Maybe you don’t want that right next door to a library. This I can understand.

They served cake, fruit and vegetable plates, sammiches, lemonade.

Most curious detail? One person after another kept yanking at the door that used to be the entrance, oblivious to these facts:

  1. The door was locked. Pulling it a second, third, or fourth time won’t unlock it. (Otherwise think how easy it would be to rob a bank vault.)
  2. There was a chair on the other side of the door.
  3. The door clearly says the entrance had moved.

So I dunno. It may take a while for the people accustomed to the urban decay and outright contempt communicated by the surrounding strip mall to adjust to the fact that the city spent money making something nice just for them.

(Pictures.)

Kennedy Eglinton reopens next Thursday

The Kennedy/Eglinton branch (KE), renovated under the artistique direction of Bruce Stratton Architects, reopens next Thursday, June 25.

And what better way to announce this event than in a PDF that contains an image of text? I assume somebody was using the telex machine all day when they were trying to make the announcement, so this is all they could come up with as a backup.

Toronto Public Library Board invites you to the opening of the beautifully renovated and expanded Kennedy/Eglinton Branch, Liberty Square Shopping Plaza, 2380 Eglinton Ave. East [map; almost next door to Kennedy station].

Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 12 noon.

Join us for family entertainment and refreshments.

In all fairness, they did mention it on Facebook, which is “the Internet” to a lot of people. I added a listing to the branch’s LibraryThing entry. (You mean you aren’t using LibraryThing? What is your problem?)


Updates

Chat mode

You can now not only E-mail your questions to a librarian but also actually chat with one. Like a teenager with her girlfriends! Only more serious.

Here’s what it looks like:

Joe Clark Initial Question/Comment: Skill-testing question of a sort: When will there be a way to suggest books for acquisition online?

Thank you for waiting. We will be with you shortly.
Librarian2 has joined this session!
Connected with Librarian2. Your Reference Number for this chat is 11482.

Librarian2: Hi[,] Joe.

Librarian2: I don’t think I understand your question.

Librarian2: Can you elaborate?

Joe Clark: There used to be a way to suggest new books for the library to buy. That disappeared with the new (“improved”) computer system. When do we get it back?

Librarian2: now I understand….

Librarian2: We will be getting a new homepage in the fall.

Librarian2: I think suggesting new books will be one of the features available fairly soon after the launch.

Librarian2: I can’t really give you definite dates, I’m afraid.

Librarian2: You can always go into your branch and make the suggestions in person :)

Joe Clark: all right.

Librarian2: is there anything else I can help you with?

Librarian2 has left this session!
The session has ended!