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Vancouver Public Library (Central Library Branch)

1,283 Reviews

Vancouver Public Library (Central Library Branch)

1,283 Reviews
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340 West Georgia St, Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 6B1 Canada
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Minh Phuc Khanh P wrote a review Sep 2020
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam27 contributions1 helpful vote
It's got lots of services like photocopying, scanning, computer with internet, and of course borrowing books. Their online resources is just amazing and it's all free.
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Date of experience: November 2019
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Kirsten M wrote a review Apr 2020
Newcastle, Australia395 contributions80 helpful votes
It is worth popping inside the Vancouver library if in the area. You can explore the inside of the library or head straight up the lifts to the roof for a quick peek at the skyline.
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Date of experience: June 2019
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APP06 wrote a review Mar 2020
Cambridge, United Kingdom245 contributions65 helpful votes
Wow what a building. From the front it looks like The Colosseum in Rome (I believe this was intended by the architects initially to some controversy), a really great design. Once inside you find nine floors with an escalator running to the top. Very impressive visually. We loved sitting in the rooftop area which has a lot of greenery (I wouldn't want to be the gardener tending the plants right on the edge of the building!) and taking in the views. It's just a pity they don't have a cafe there, just a vending machine, that would really be a great place to grab a bite to eat and a drink.
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Date of experience: April 2019
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PookyCake wrote a review Feb 2020
Victoria, Canada11,162 contributions994 helpful votes
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The Vancouver Public Library (Central Branch) is an architectural marvel. Completed in 1995, this snazzy postmodern structure represents everything a good book emporium should be: It is stylish yet practical in design and execution; it is well maintained by the on-site staff; it is well stocked in books and reference materials (1.3 million texts and counting); it is multi purpose; and it is pleasing to both the eye and the soul. Moshe Safdie’s unique design is surely the first thing that catches everybody’s eye. Designed to resemble the Colosseum in Rome, the Vancouver Public Library (VPL) is able to bring together classical and contemporary elements into a beautiful architectural gestalt. The building’s exterior harkens back to the ancients while its interior – part of Library Square – looks towards the moderns and the future. In this way, the VPL is able to function as an important emporium of knowledge while always being cognizant of the fact that the future is fluid, always moving. The VPL’s internal glass façade exemplifies this in a very apt way. It is lively, yes, but it also allows for vita contemplativa. It is only once you enter the actual library that you realize the leviathan you’ve stepped into. At 9 levels and well over a million books and resources, the VPL is a definite monolith of knowledge. It is also one that I’ve made use of a fair amount over the years. When I was doing my Masters Degree research, the VPL infrequently figured into my research time. I’d use the computer room, access the library stacks, sit, read and take notes. Later, even after I’d finished my degree, I’d still visit the VPL to calm and relax my mind. There’s been more than one occasion where I’ve come in during late morning, found a classic book (Robertson Davies’ “Question Time” or Robin Mathews’ “Air 7,” for example), and read it from cover to cover before leaving. I’ve just found the VPL to be an oasis of calm in the heart of our bustling City of Glass. Of course, the VPL is much more than just a library. It is a multi-purpose venue. Here, you can hold meetings, chat with friends, browse the web, borrow musical instruments, partake in artistic modes of expression in Library Square, dine and, yes, even enjoy the cityscape of Vancouver amongst the plants on the VPL’s rooftop garden (opened in 2018). While I’ve only visited the garden once, it proved to be a serene space that offered beautiful contrasts: Urban and rural; traditional and postmodern. Taken together, each of these elements make for an experience just as unique as the city itself. Architecture, history, technology, and the arts combine to show us why the Vancouver Public Library (Central Branch) is more than the sum of its parts. It also demonstrates why I, and many others, return time and again.
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Date of experience: July 2019
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bucketlisttravellers wrote a review Dec 2019
Sydney, Australia3,517 contributions630 helpful votes
This library is impressive inside and out. It is an imposing structure, designed to resemble to Colosseum and it spans over 9 levels with a garden courtyard on top. We came here at 10am just in time for opening and were surprised to see a queue of people waiting at the front door. After spending over an hour here, we can understand why locals would be keen to come here. It has an enormous collection of books and reference material, including historical photographs and artefacts. There are numerous meeting rooms, computer facilities and study areas. There is free wifi, drinking water and clean bathroom facilities. They also host a range of events.
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Date of experience: December 2019
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