November 12, 2014 3:15 pm
Updated: November 12, 2014 6:23 pm

UPDATED: New Halifax Central Library slated to open on Dec. 13


HALIFAX – The new Halifax Central Library will open its doors to the public on Dec. 13, officials announced Wednesday.

Before setting a date, the $57.6-million facility had been slated to open sometime in the fall following the closure of the Spring Garden Road Memorial Library in August so books could be moved over.

Bruce Gorman, director of the Central Library and regional services, said everyone involved in the project has been eagerly awaiting the opening date and until then, they’ll be busy with the final touches.

“A lot of little details, the fine work — getting the final computers plugged in and making sure the collection is on the shelves,” he said.

The new state-of-the-art building, which has managed to garner global recognition from sources including CNN, replaces the 63-year-old former library across the street.

READ MORE: Future of former Halifax Memorial Library still up in the air

The new library features much more than books — it has two soundproof recording studios, a gaming centre for teens and a fully-equipped theatre for events.

“We’ve created flexible and future proof spaces and the spaces people want now,” Gorman said.

“The old library served us well, but it’s a different era now.”

The new library will house a collection that’s expected to be 40 per cent larger than the one in the old branch.

It’s also expected to attract more visitors.

The former branch saw roughly 440,000 people through its doors annually. An analysis by Halifax Public Libraries showed 900,000 are expected at the new location in the first year alone.

“I think certainly all our regular customers are waiting for this to happen and they’re waiting to come back,” said Paula Saulnier, director of corporate services with the library. “But I think what we’ll [also] see is people who maybe have never come into a library before.”

With all its high-tech additions, it’s clear this new building is a far cry from the traditional stuffy library.

Chief Librarian Åsa Kachan said that’s exactly what’s needed in this day and age.

“There have been people who have said, ‘It’ll be the end of the book. It’ll be the end of libraries.’ To me, the role for libraries is more relevant than it ever has been,” she said.

“I think as people become more electronically connected, it does not at all diminish the need for human connections. And the library becomes that place where people of all faiths and all ages and all socioeconomic backgrounds are all welcome and can all come together.”

The project received funding from all three levels of government, but Halifax Public Libraries has also started an online campaign for public donations to purchase new material and technology.

The Share the Wow campaign has raised $4.6 million of its $6.4-million goal.



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