An ode to libraries
January 29, 2015 4:21 PM   Subscribe

A toronto artist, Daniel Rotsztain, (video) is drawing all of Toronto's libraries. Current count, 46/102.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering (20 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Interesting how the Carnegie buildings jump out at you.
posted by Decimask at 4:58 PM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

My part of town has the bestest most libraryish libraries in town. And then there's Perth Dupont.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:00 PM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've worked at least one shift in 48 branches of the TPL. I'm pretty sure that if I work at least once at every branch I'm allowed to immediately retire with a full pension, but I'll have to double-check my contract to make sure.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:28 PM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

From the drawings there seem to be a remarkable number of flat-roofed structures. I've been told there's an unwritten rule somewhere (because, you know, unwritten, so I guess it's just floating) that flat roofs leak.

That being said--Toronto is one well-served city.
posted by datawrangler at 5:32 PM on January 29, 2015

These are great. I feel so warm and fuzzy when I see libraries that have been "my library" at various points.

Perth Dupont was my childhood library, first at it's location between Symington and Perth and then at its current location. I was surprised, returning there once as an adult, by how tiny it is. My mom and I used to go every weekend and I'd come home with bags full of books (this was when I was too young for chapter books, so it took lots of books to get me through a week). I won several MS read-a-thons thanks to their endless (I thought at the time) book selection. Sometimes we would go there with my class in elementary school and go upstairs to their space up there. I remember the stair case with the electric chair to take handicapped people up. I'd never seen a chair like that before and thought it was the most awesome thing ever, but they never let us ride it.

So anyway, don't knock Perth-Dupont jacquilynne. Its boxy, unremarkable self is special to lots of people, I bet.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:48 PM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to dump on your library. My library growing up was some atco trailers in the parking lot of a high school, so I shouldn't judge other people's libraries anyway.

I just really, really love Annette library (my current local) and its innate librariness. I almost never actually go into it (I'm more of an ebook girl now, so I mostly go there once a year to renew my library card) but it makes me smile to drive by it.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:56 PM on January 29, 2015

One of the things I miss about living in Toronto is the Metro Toronto Reference Library, which his line drawing suggests but fails to fully capture. It is a building with a dramatic modernist interior which despite being steps from one of the busiest intersections in the country and being six storeys tall with a ten-acre footprint, still somehow manages to be so nondescript that if you are not looking straight at it, it is hard to recall what it looks like.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:21 PM on January 29, 2015 [4 favorites]

I just really, really love Annette library (my current local) and its innate librariness.

Well it's hard to argue with that. As a kid who went to Perth-Dupont I actually lusted over the Annette library and used to beg my mom to take me there. I don't think I've ever actually been inside. We didn't have a car and it's not walkable or very convenient public-transit-wise from where we lived. It does look like a beautiful library, though.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:36 PM on January 29, 2015

i love you libraries, i love you toronto, i want prints of some of these (esp. jones), i'm homesick now.
posted by PinkMoose at 6:44 PM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

He seems a genuinely nice bloke, too. ms scruss got a lovely e-mail from him, as she's been been blogging about and photographing all of the libraries for a few years now. I've only been to about 70 of them, so I'm a rank amateur.

Man, is that a flattering drawing of Guildwood, or what?
posted by scruss at 6:58 PM on January 29, 2015

Aww, even wee, nondescript storefront St. Clair/Silverthorn got a shoutout.

I remember my old neighbourhoods in Toronto by the libraries within walking distance. Mid-Scarborough had Cliffcrest and Bendale within walking distance, with local behemoths Cedarbrae and Albert Campbell available by TTC. I was spoiled in south Etobicoke by being within walking range of Mimico, New Toronto and Long Branch. And I've got at least 6 libraries within bike or walking distance in my part of the Junction.

Meanwhile, I think there's only two full size Tim Hortons within walking distance, and a mini-Tims tucked inside the Rona. Libraries still win. Sorry, Doug.
posted by maudlin at 7:26 PM on January 29, 2015

(Wait, make that three full size Tim Hortons, if you count the one on Dundas favoured by the brothers Ford. Still outnumbered by libraries in the area. Our libraries are also, probably, a better long term employment prospect. Jerks.)
posted by maudlin at 7:33 PM on January 29, 2015

I hate to grump on such a nice labour of love, but these sketches are a bit sketchy. The drive-by side view of Wychwood Library doesn't really show the nice old rotunda. (Which is where I found some strange Hungarian folk music on vinyl many years ago. I think The Strawbs recorded an album based on the trees in the yard. I could be wrong.)
posted by ovvl at 7:43 PM on January 29, 2015

Yeah, I was expecting something a bit ... better. These look like background art from a comic book (obv. not one drawn by Bryan Hitch).

That being said, it was a bit of a surprise to see the actual shape of North York Central Library. In my mind it is just a big cube but I guess not.

Just yesterday I found out that a Toronto Public Library card gives access to the OED online. Haven't tried it out because my card is missing and expired but I can fix that over the weekend.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 8:14 PM on January 29, 2015

silverthorn has a perfect vernacular modernist interior
posted by PinkMoose at 8:15 PM on January 29, 2015

When I first moved to Toronto, this was my library. And when I lived near Chinatown I got to go here, with the griffin and the chimera guarding the doors and the sci-fi and fantasy collection upstairs. Out west in The Junction I had this Carnegie library (with matching Masonic Temple next door). My current east end library isn't the prettiest, and hasn't been covered yet. But no matter where I go in Toronto I'll always have a library I can walk to.
posted by thecjm at 8:30 PM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Lillian H. Smith. Gotta be the straight up coolest library there is. Home to the incredible Merrill Collection.

Check out those guardians.
posted by 256 at 8:38 PM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

There are many great things about Toronto. It's libraries top that list by a wide margin.

Also, Palmerston 4 Life.
posted by dry white toast at 9:08 PM on January 29, 2015

I usually feel claustrophobic in libraries, but find the one at Bloor and Gladstone welcoming. It's airy and bright and perfectly scaled, imo - tall enough to let you breathe, but not so tall you're afraid to have mediocre thoughts. I like that it's chilled out, too, there's no finger-wagging for normal talking. Ideal for restless types.
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:31 PM on January 29, 2015 [4 favorites]

cotton dress sock, yours may be one of the most perfect descriptions I've read of a reaction to this kind of oversized structural space.

Metafilter: not so tall you're afraid to have mediocre thoughts.
posted by datawrangler at 2:45 AM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

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