First off, I must admit my bias. I love our libraries.
In light of comments Ward 7 Councillor Donna Skelly made during a meeting a few months back, where she questioned a proposed increase to the library budget; commenting on the relevance (or as Skelly implied, growing irrelevance) of libraries today. I paid a visit to the Central Library branch to check out just how relevant our libraries really are.
The downtown Central Public Library is a gorgeous public space. It’s an architectural beauty that I enjoy experiencing with each of my visits. I borrow books and DVDs for myself and the kids. I visit the library for their special programming: film screenings, speakers, and music series (In The Round) with past performances from bands like The Sadies, Donovan Woods, Hawklsey Workman, and Hamilton legends Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. Their digital archives are my favourite. I could get eternally lost in a historical Hamilton archival wormhole. You can request to physically view items from the archives (a historical Hamilton dream come true). And, if you didn’t know already, the library offers family museum passes, which are free to borrow for two weeks, providing two adults and two children access to all of Hamilton’s civic and historic museums.
The library has so much free and accessible programming that I can’t even begin to list them all or speak to how amazing each and every thing they do, is just simply awesome.
On the fourth floor of the Central Library you will find the Makerspace. It boasts a green room, digital media lab, four 3-D printers, sound recording studio, large format printing, and an embroidery machine. There is no cost to access the equipment and fees for printing are minimal (just cover the cost of the materials used to print).
The day I visited a collection of crafters were sitting down to work on their maker projects for the day for Crafternoon Fridays, while the hum in the background of someone’s 3D printer project being constructed filled in the background noise. A few people trickled in to check out the relatively new space and equipment and together we enthused and marveled at just how cool a space and opportunity for creativity the Makerspace provides.
The Makerspace is open to everyone; with several other branches (Redhill and Terryberry) that also have their own on-site Digital Media labs, and the addition of Dundas and Turner Park to soon follow suit with their own labs too. Specific machines can be booked up to a week in advance but walk-ins are also welcome. Bookings can be made in person or by phone.
This is definitely something that makes the use of the library space and innovative, creative, and dare I say relevant.
The public library system exemplifies the meaning of accessibility bringing the potential of technology, art, and literacy into the lives of everyone and especially to those who might not have otherwise had access.
Central Library: 4th floor
55 York Blvd.
905-546-3200 x3406 Website