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Our Free Library

March 19, 2016

By Karthy Chin

Did you know that we have a yellow locker full of books that could use some love? Have you ever noticed the sign on the brick wall of the hallway off the Theatre Centre cafe/bar?

“The history of the Theatre Centre building  has its roots in research and education. The building was the original home of a Carnegie Library – a space for learning and contemplation that was free to the public ensuring knowledge was not exclusive. In keeping with the original purpose of the building The Theatre Centre has established a lending library. Peruse the catalogue. Take a seat and read a book. If you’d like to take a book home please replace with a donated book and aid in maintaining a catalogue of information sharing.”

In honour of our history as a Carnegie library (check out our blog post about the history of our building), our locker is officially joining the Little Free Library movement. Walking around the city, you might have noticed little tiny birdhouse-like structures where you can take, borrow, and leave books behind. This movement is based on the Carnegie model (isn’t that awesome); and free libraries can be found throughout the city.

Row of books leaning against the brick wall in The Theatre Centre's free library.
Little Free Library, The Theatre Centre

A library’s role as a public space is provides access and space for individuals and communities to gather and learn. This is similar to our mandate as a meeting-place for people in the Parkdale community and Toronto. The history of the building is extremely important to us and as a cultural centre, we embody many similar values to the library that this building used to be.

Come by and feel free to peruse the shelves. Free free to sit in our cafe and read a book. If you take a book, we ask that you please leave a book (if you can!).

Sources: “Building Momentum for Little Free Libraries,” Publisher’s Weekly (Feb  2013) | “Little Free Libraries Around Toronto,” Apartment Therapy (July 2012) | Little Free Library | “When your neighbour’s yard is a library,” The Globe and Mail (December 2014)

Karthy is interning with The Theatre Centre through the material culture program at the University of Toronto. She is a theatre designer and director and intends to pursue a career in professional theatre.