More Than Just Shelves: Patron Perceptions of a Downtown Halifax Library


  • Emily Macrae Dalhousie University
  • Stephanie van de Vooren Dalhousie University
  • Siobhan Witherbee Dalhousie University



This paper explores how patrons conceive of the Spring Garden Road Memorial Library (SGL) in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Built in 1951 to commemorate local residents who died in the world wars, the SGL will be replaced by the Halifax Central Library by the end of 2014. Our study combines on-site observation and interviews with library patrons to determine how users‘ behavior at the SGL relates to their opinions of the current building, and the future Halifax Central Library. Although policy documents highlight the shortcomings of the SGL building, many patrons value the SGL because of its connection to local history, as well as its place in their everyday lives. The contrast between physical conditions and individual perceptions demonstrates the interplay between tangible and intangible factors in shaping urban space.