As libraries across the world battle for survival, one system has embraced the digital age and in Toronto, books take a backseat
In the lobby of the downtown branch of Torontos reference library, a bearded man in a red shirt doffed an imaginary top hat to wave me through the gate, bowing exaggeratedly and saying: After you, madame.
The building is unassuming at street level brown brick, a grid of square windows but pass through its doors and the white galleries billow upward like a hyper-intelligent car park flying through space.
In the reception, a poster reads Newcomers to Canada Settlement Information. Staff help new arrivals find information on citizenship, English and French classes, housing, employment and healthcare, as well as free guided tours of heritage sites across the city. A few steps away is the Innovation Hub, a maker space where a young woman explained to me how to use a 3D printer. This branch has three.