• Library of Parliament, Ottawa, Ont. (Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons)
    Library of Parliament, Ottawa, Ont. (Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons)

Few community institutions are so revered and romanticized as a library. But the role of a library has evolved over the years, and, perhaps in reaction, the buildings that house them have evolved as well.

From the modern, natural-light-loving façade of Hespeler’s library to Edmonton’s wonky Jasper Place branch, libraries’ architecture and purpose are being re-imagined. Granted, not all libraries are undergoing such novel renovations. Indeed some of our favourites, like the Morrin Centre library, remain the cozy bookish enclaves they were in mid-19th century. Either way, these bibliophilic havens call to mind Walter Savage Landor’s quote: “Nothing is pleasanter than exploring a library.”

Vancouver Public Library Central Branch; Vancouver, B.C. (Andrew Raun/Wikimedia Commons)

Halifax Central Library; Halifax, N.S. (Citobun/Wikimedia Commons)

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library; Toronto, Ont. (Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library/Wikimedia Commons)

Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec; Montreal, Que. (© BAnQ, Bernard Fougères)

Idea Exchange; Hespeler, Ont. (JasonParis/Wikimedia Commons)

Whistler Public Library; Whistler, B.C. (Martin Tessler)

Morrin Centre library; Quebec City, Que. (Sabrina Doyle)

Edmonton Public Library Jasper Place Branch; Edmonton, Alta. (Hubert Kang)

Queen’s University Douglas Library; Kingston, Ont. (Jessica Darmanin)