New library looks to make lasting impact
Goal is to provide accessible space which promotes a sense of community and togetherness
Sitting in the new Central Library’s atrium, Godfrey Shouting seems overwhelmed, saying he doesn’t know where to start.
Having just moved back to Calgary from Lethbridge, Shouting says he is staying at the Calgary Drop-In Centre in the East Village until he can find a place to live. The new library, just five minutes away from the shelter, seemed like a great way for Shouting to get out of the centre for the day and get used to being back in Calgary.
“It’s important to have somewhere to go to read a book, go on a computer, just chill out,” Shouting says.
“It’s awesome to get away from there and sit around here. It’s my first time being at the library too. It’s pretty awesome. It’s a better place than sitting around the Drop-In Centre.”
Calgary’s new 240,000square-foot Central Library opened last Thursday after two years of construction and anticipation. On its first weekend, the library teemed with life, welcoming 52,223 total visits and 3,397 new members.
Bordering Calgary’s downtown in the East Village, the Calgary Public Library’s goal with this new library is to provide an accessible institution in the neighbourhood providing vital services and impacting lives in the community.
Those community services kicked off with 76 hours of free programs delivered on the first weekend. Some plans the new library has include working with the Calgary Board of Education to provide academic upgrading. Resources like career coaching and advice on resumés and cover letters are also planned to help Calgarians who are looking for work.
Like many other branches in the city, the Central Library will have settlement services for new Calgarians to create a space for newcomers to meet one another, learn about the city and connect with their new communities.
The role the new library seeks to fill isn’t just about introducing new services. Calgary’s public libraries can be the glue that brings a community together.
“It’s really important that libraries have a sense of what’s happening in their own communities,” says Sarah Meilleur, Calgary Public Library’s director of service delivery.
More on the library at thestar.com/calgary
Thomas Limequeco, a local Calgary photographer, was taking in some of the impressive services the newly reopened Central Library has to offer.