New li­brary looks to make last­ing im­pact

Goal is to pro­vide ac­ces­si­ble space which pro­motes a sense of com­mu­nity and to­geth­er­ness

StarMetro Calgary - - CALGARY - AN­DREW JEF­FREY

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 thes­­gary


Thomas Lime­queco, a lo­cal Cal­gary pho­tog­ra­pher, was tak­ing in some of the im­pres­sive ser­vices the newly re­opened Cen­tral Li­brary has to of­fer.

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