Sunday, December 14, 2014

A list of times I cried at the new library on its opening day:

  1.  When a woman dressed up as a movie princess was reading with three little girls also dressed up as princesses. I saw children excited to see the characters from screens read books to them and realize how special it is to let your imagination fill in the blanks, and I cried.
  2. When I was standing in a room watching 3D printer demo surrounded by little boys of girls who thought it was SO COOL. I heard four different languages being spoken (English, French, Arabic, and possibly German? I couldn’t identify the last ones.) I realized how multicultural Halifax is, and how even though we still have lots of deeply ingrained bigotry, we unconsciously fight to celebrate our differences when we share in a remarkable common experience each in our own way, and I cried.

  3. When I saw my younger kind of cousin and her feminist punk band bussed in from the suburbs to check out the new recording studio with plans to create their first album. I didn’t cry, because crying isn’t punk.
  4. When I sat down in a black leather chair in on the very top floor, which felt like a very glamorous spaceship, looking out the window, and stuck my book plate dedicated to my grandmother into Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, thinking of the traditions I created with her when we read together. Then I thought of all of the traditions that the families who read this book would already have, and would go on to create, as they created their own stories around this story. I pulled my sticker off my backing, I admired the pattern of the book lining, I thought of the woman who made me appreciate everything in my hands and everything around me, and I cried.

I had seen the building before. It was remarkable, it was special, it was exciting. But what makes the Halifax Central Library important are the people in it; climbing the infamous stairs, sitting in the modernist pods, dancing in groups at the video game stations, watching authors give presentations in the prayer circle, gasping at the view on the roof. Thank you for being my neighbours in the shelves. Thank you for bringing this magical space alive. I hope I see you all there again soon.

Thank you for the library staff who made the first day so magical. You can support Halifax's beautiful shared space and make a meaningful contribution by buying a bookplate for 25$. (What an amazing Christmas gift!)

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