Last week was the official celebration of the opening of the Old Post Office in downtown Galt, Cambridge. Construction began in late 2015, restoring & renovating this as the latest location of the Idea Exchange (Cambridge's library system).

Today, I went on one of the free guided tours of the new space and it's fantastic! What a beautiful building and renovation, it's a gorgeous, welcoming space that will be a feature of downtown for years to come.

Every floor is dedicated to a distinct creative space and not one square inch of the space will resemble a traditional library. The existing locations will continue to be those traditional spaces but this space is going to be a place to learn and explore. I can't wait to check it out once it's all ready to go.

Creative Studios - bottom floor

On the bottom floor (partially underground) there are some staff offices but also some creative space, with the following kinds of spaces available for booking:

  • 2 small sound-proof rooms for mini-recording studios to record video or podcasts, for instance. They each have a small desk and chair and appear to have power and network access. There will also be opportunities to learn how to do these kinds of things.
  • 1 larger space, designed for acoustics, which was almost like a small performance hall where there was a stage with some instruments that would be available to try and learn.
A view of some of the original stonework kept as part of the building structure after the renovations.

These rooms will be available for booking for schools and library members, some for free it sounded like. This picture above is the hallway where some of the original building is now the interior wall of the corridor.

Reading Room & Cafe - main floor

With floor-to-ceiling glass windows, the main floor will be a place to get a beverage from the cafe (serviced by Monigram Coffee Roasters, whose primary location is just across the parking lot from the library on Ainslie Street) and enjoy a space for reading or meeting up with friends. From the tour guide, it sounded like library members may be able to rent out devices on which to download digital media to enjoy while they use this space. The cafe sounds like it will be ready in early August.

Discovery Centre - second floor

The second floor will be an area mostly for kids to learn and get immersed in various STEAM activities (science, technology, engineering, arts and math). There will be kits they can check out while onsite with different activities in the box, such as robotics and other fun things. Hopefully, big kids can try some of this stuff too!

Also running off this floor is a fantastic open patio with great views up and down the Grand River. Too bad it was a dreary day today when I got these photos!

A view from the 2nd-floor balcony at the Old Post Office in Galt.
A view of the exterior of the building from the 2nd-floor balcony.

Maker Space - third floor

The top floor is a maker space, which will have workstations set up with various technology such as a laser engraver and a 3-D printer. Toyota Canada generously donated the funds to procure the laser engraver. These technologies will be available to try as well as learning opportunities in other areas.

Final Impressions

I can't wait to check out this space once more of it is fully up and operational. Even visiting to relax and read over a cup of tea will be a pleasure, with the views of the Grand in the background. I am hoping to also learn more about some of the technologies they will have and try some new things like the 3-D printer or laser engraver. The learning opportunities are tremendous, all available with a free library card! I'm proud of the city for the vision of supporting such a space.