One Year of Library Stories

How has Calgary Public Library made a difference in your life?

We posed this question one year ago, and started sharing people’s answers through our Library Stories initiative. Calgarians told us memorable stories, about how the Library made them feel connected to their community, how it brought families closer together, and how it helped during challenging times.

For Henry Bastidas, who came to Canada from Venezuela, at first the Library was where he attended free ESL, careers, and technology programs. Today, it’s a place where he gives back and helps others, by volunteering with the popular after-school program Math Quest.

Daniel Rankin and his daughter Christine were impressed to learn they could sign out instruments at Memorial Park Library, and use their new Library cards at home to download eBooks and take online courses. More importantly, they discovered the Library was a place to be together.

Connections are also key for Mirna Khaled and her twins Julia and Jalal, who regularly visit Forest Lawn Library. Libraries are the perfect place to meet neighbours and friends, they say. Forest Lawn Library is also where Michelle Robinson organizes an Indigenous-focused book club that she says has changed her life.

These are just a few of the stories Calgarians have shared over the past year, since the launch of the Library Stories initiative.

We heard from people of varying ages, from 11-year-old Esandi Babaranda — who loves reading at the beautiful Crowfoot Library — to 90-year-old Nellie Befus, who has volunteered with Calgary Public Library for 44 consecutive years.

For some people, including Stephanie Mok and Scottie Grinton, Calgary’s libraries have been a safe place they turned to during challenging times.

Others credit the Library with helping shape their careers, like Val Lawton, who spent countless hours at Giuffre Family Library when starting out as a children’s book illustrator.

For newcomer Boban Stojanovic, receiving a Library card at Nose Hill Library was significant. Amid an ongoing refugee claimant process, the card gave him a sense of belonging and made him feel equal to other Calgarians.

The subject of our most recent Library Story, Frank O’Keeffe, first signed up for a Calgary Public Library card about 50 years ago. How he uses the Library has changed over the years, from a place to study to a place to feel companionship. Libraries, says Frank, are invaluable places in our communities.

Thank you to the many people who shared their stories with us over the past year. You can read all 16 stories on our Library Stories webpage, where we’ll continue to publish more stories in 2019.

We want to hear from you! If you have a story to tell about why you love your Library or how the Library has made a difference in your life, share it with us.

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