spotlight on: waterloo public library (john m. harper branch)

I love finding new places to study in Kitchener-Waterloo because sometimes I just really need to get away from my bed so I can focus. As I write this I’m taking a break (one of many from today) from writing my papers. I don’t really deserve a break but I’m taking one anyways.

As a result of giving Mike really shitty directions the other day, we ended up north of campus in Siberia – which is to say in the Laurelwood neighbourhood of Waterloo. Unfamiliar name? That’s because there’s basically nothing out here and only one bus route actually services this road. But we passed by this really nice building that caught my eye. Turns out it’s one of the 3 branches of the Waterloo Public Library all tucked away in a corner where most university students would never venture.

Side note: Coming from Mississauga means that I’m really weirded out by the lack of libraries around here.

This might be the nicest branch of WPL – but honestly, that’s not a very high bar. There’s huge windows for natural light and also a lot of tables for people to work at. The main bank of workspace in the study area (that’s the corner of the building on the left) also comes well-equipped with outlets built right into the tables.


There’s also a long stretch of window seating that has personal lights and more outlets! The library is also attached to a YMCA if you’re looking for a place to workout that isn’t swarming with other students. But my favourite part is probably the fact that this community centre has a little cafe for food and drinks! It’s pretty handy if you’re here for most of the day and don’t have a car because I think the closest food thing is the Sobeys which is a 15-minute walk back down towards Columbia.

They have tea, coffee, pastries, candy, as well as a pretty solid selection of wraps and sandwiches for when you need real nourishment to fuel your study session. (Captured above is the nice employee handing me my slice of pumpkin pie which made my entire day!)

It’s called the Funkee Goose Cafe and its hours seem to be Monday – Friday from 8AM-8PM.

Also I’m very big into the vibes of my study spaces so please appreciate the ones that this library has! The outside space is so bright and has lovely sloping ceilings and shadows. Come here for the aesthetic, stay for the dope study space.

There’s also funky benches and a little courtyard that you can access. If the weather permits, it would be a lovely place to have a coffee or lunch with a friend.

This shade of pink seems to be the feature colour for this branch and it does a great job of bringing some excitement and cheeriness to the place.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Unsurprisingly, I was there until it got dark out so I was able to snap this picture of the view out the window. So if you hate how crowded campus locations are these days (goddamn it Fall term), you should swing by this library to get some work done!

The 13 will take you there if you’re coming from campus.


500 Fischer Hallman Road North
Waterloo, Ontario


Mon– Thurs: 10am – 9pm
Friday: Closed
Saturday: 10am – 5:30pm
Sunday: Closed

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