From the Fans of Toronto Public Library’s blog post on the renovated Bloor-Gladstone branch:
I have finally been able to put my finger on a thought that has half-occurred to me on my now-numerous visits to renovated libraries. Here’s a slogan to get you started: “Your tax dollars at work!” TPL keeps getting awarded modest increases in budget, even as it carries out budgetary trimming here and there, because we want to reward something that’s already working.
But what I’ve really been ruminating on is this idea. We live in a city that is otherwise so wedded to mediocrity it becomes indistinguishable from outright championing of mediocrity. Nonetheless, we build giant palaces to every form of learning, all free of charge and open to everybody. What we do here is we build palaces of learning. Ninety-nine of them. And when they wear out, we fix them. We throw good money after good because we think libraries are that important – which they are.
Toronto really does do a great job with libraries (see also: Runnymede branch, Jane-Dundas, Lillian H. Smith….). It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Metro Ref.