Ideas were buzzing around the room last night as more than 200 people discussed design options for the new central library.

It was the first of five public consultations for the central library on the corner of Spring Garden Road and Queen Street. The meeting was held at the Dalhousie Students Union Building.

“Some of the designs I’m seeing are inspirational,” Halifax resident Joe Jollimore said as he examined the pictures of European libraries designed by the same architectural consultants who will help build the Halifax one.

All three levels of government are kicking in money for this $55-million project.

“It’s the price you pay for the image you wish to obtain and show off as a community and as a province,” Jollimore said.

Alexandra Hirsch, 22, was surprised she was one of the few young people in the crowd. “I find it’s an interesting demographic. I’m a university student and there don’t seem to be very many of me around.”

Her father, David Hirsch, said he visits the current Spring Garden Road Memorial Library quite often.

“We’re here because it’s important and the current building has been far out-grown. I think it’s kind of scary when you sit there now and people walk around you can feel the floor shake,” he said.

“I’m interested to see what the architects have come up with. I want to make sure there’s going to be some open stacks because this isn’t a research library, it’s a place to go and read. I still enjoy walking around in there and seeing what I run into.”

Library staff and architects gave a presentation then residents were encouraged to work in groups to share ideas. Tables were covered in large pieces of paper and crayons were provided so people could sketch their thoughts.

More meetings
There will be three more public consultations before the design concept is unveiled at the last meeting Nov. 4.