HALIFAX - As the final chapter of the Spring Garden Memorial Library comes to an end this week, dozens of people have been dropping in to wander the bookshelves and say goodbye.
© Metro Halifax/Haley Ryan
Joanne McCarthy O'Leary, local history and genealogy librarian for 19 years, poses for a photo outside the Spring Garden Memorial Library on Tuesday.
In true ‚Äúlibrary style,‚ÄĚ anyone can write their memories on the back of old catalogue cards in the ‚ÄúCatalogue of Farewells‚ÄĚ set up on the branch‚Äôs main floor until 5 p.m. Saturday, said adult services librarian Samantha Sternberg.
‚ÄúThere are a lot of emotions going on of excitement and sadness,‚ÄĚ Sternberg said. ‚ÄúFinding ways to really celebrate this space in this last week of hurrahs.‚ÄĚ
The cards will hopefully make their way into the library archives, Sternberg said.
Hundreds of items are being moved out of the Spring Garden location, but local history and geneology librarian Joanne McCarthy O‚ÄôLeary said the most important for her are the Books of Remembrance which list the names of those who died in WWI, WWII, the Korean War and reflect the ‚Äúmemorial‚ÄĚ part of the library‚Äôs name.
At the end of 1945, the people of Halifax decided to merge their needs for a war memorial and public library into a living memorial dedicated to the ideas of freedom of education and expression of culture the soldiers fought for, said McCarthy O‚ÄôLeary.
Before the library opened in 1951, she said special permission was needed to build on Grafton Park since it had been used as the Poorhouse cemetery until the 1840s and pirates from the barque Saladin are believed to be buried there.
‚ÄúSome people think the place is haunted,‚ÄĚ McCarthy O‚ÄôLeary said with a smile.
Bill Oland, 65, said he remembers reading picture books in the children‚Äôs library downstairs in the early 1950s, hunching over encyclopedia‚Äôs when he was in junior high, and bringing his own children to find books years later.
‚ÄúThat helped both myself and my wife ‚Ä¶ have a strong warmth and sense of welcome.‚ÄĚ Oland said. ‚ÄúA home away from home.‚ÄĚ
As she left the library Tuesday, Rosemary Gordon said she is looking forward to the new location but carries fond memories of learning how to use the internet in the Spring Garden space after moving to Halifax seven years ago from Zimbabwe, and listening to flamenco music performances.
‚ÄúLibraries are fantastic. I come from a country where there are none,‚ÄĚ Gordon said.
McCarthy O‚ÄôLeary says she hopes people reflect on what the library gave to them this week, and added staff are looking forward to have a flexible space where more services are offered in the Halifax Central Library, which is opening across the street in the fall.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs an end but it‚Äôs also a beginning,‚ÄĚ she said.