Originally founded in 1869 as the "New London Mechanic Institute" (a meeting room and library for the employees of the Hastings Mill), it was later renamed the "Hastings Literary Institute." Following the Great Fire of Vancouver in 1886, the then defunct Institute donated its remaining 400 books to the newly established "Vancouver Reading Room." One year later, it was renamed the "Vancouver Free Library." In 1901, when the collections outgrew their facility, Andrew Carnegie donated fifty thousand dollars for construction of a new library building. By 1957, the library collections had outgrown its home again, and the current building, resembling the Flavian Amphitheater in Rome (more popularly known as the Colosseum) was opened. In an effort to help continued funding of the library's operations, this new nine story building includes high rise office space, retail stores, restaurants, and an underground parking facility. This is truly one of the most impressive libraries we've encountered. So much so, that parts of the building have been included in such films as "Battlestar Galactica," "Mr. Magoo," "Fringe," etc. Included in its collections are enough DVD's to rival Blockbuster Video ( there may still be one or two of these stores around) musical instruments that can be taken out on loan like books, and stacks-upon-stacks of foreign language books (from Arabic, French, Japanese, Korean, etc.). In addition, this library has one of the largest current magazine collections we've seen. And, this was only a five minute walk from our apartment. What a great find!
If you happen to be overwhelmed by the shear numbers, throughout the library are staff recommendations for books to read.
Of course, having been a First Grade teacher for so many years, Lori's favorite area was the Children's Room.