Halifax Central Library

Sneak preview of possible Christchurch Central Library Design elements

Wow I am at a loss for words! Halifax Central Library is impressive on all fronts – design, flow, colour, warmth, vibrant spaces, diverse  services and more –  it delivers all with wow!

It’s best described like your favourite box of chocolates, customer needs and preferences have all been sought, considered and incorporated into the design and delivery. There is a balance of consistency,  variety and uniqueness across the floors so everyone can discover whats on offer culminating in a favourite experience amd/or space. The library as a ‘home away from home’ is fully embraced and repeat visits are clearly the norm with over 2 million visits in the first year. The most common complaint in weekends is “there is nowhere to sit” and people queue outside rushing in to grab these coveted study cells -“they’re the best”. Two lovely customers just arrived and we’re thrilled to get the booth and be photographed.



Community consultation and opportunities to be involved throughout the project created a strong sense of ownership. Three powerful examples are

  1.  Youth contributing to the design of the tables
  2. Residents contributing to the art work with 1000 pieces used on the 5th floor and 5,000 used on the  5th floor – shown below
  3. On opening day 400 pairs of safety scissors were given to customers to share in the cutting of the ribbon.

The service philosophy is a simple but thought provoking statement  “How do we get to ‘yes’ on everything we are asked for?” 

Halifax clearly embraces and initiates change,

  • food is allowed in the local history room
  • First Nations space emotionally moving
  • no charges on damaged items,
  • the ‘collection belongs to the public’ mantra,
  • a successful  campaign titled ‘Come out of the cold” was implemented for Halifax’s most vulnerable,
  •  weddings and funerals are held in the “living room” ( top floor),
  •  pockets of quiet have been retained,
  • programming has been doubled,
  • 5000 room bookings in one year
  • Children’s areas are inspiring and embraced by all the family
  • Media and maker spaces offer opportunity to create and collaborate
  • Site lines are brilliant and strong use of colour for differentiation a real success.

Cool Lego tables ensuring those elusive little bits are stored in the table itself – no storage to worry about.



Customers are “living the library life style. Patterns of usage are changing with customers staying longer with an intensity of space use. People have a personal relationship with the library, it is truly the heart of the community and a place of dignity”.

Every space is pure delight and despite a repeat visit I could have stayed longer. This library epitomizes “for the people by the people” – it is at the heart of the community. Well done everyone 10 out of 10 for an award winning place, space and service. Thanks for hosting us!

One thought on “Halifax Central Library

  1. Manz August 29, 2016 / 2:17 pm

    what as awesome looking library!!

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