Calgary’s new Central Library is now open, and we can’t wait for you to come visit. Here’s a preview of what you’ll find inside.
Shaikh Family Welcome Gallery
From the Shaikh Family Welcome Gallery on Level 1, you’ll get a stellar view of the entire building. Look all the way up to see the Oculus skylight, celebrating Calgary’s famously sunny skies. To your right is Library Express, and to the left are elevators and the Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall.
A large wall mural greets visitors to Central Library, a collaboration by Roland Rollinmud, Keegan Starlight, and Kalum Teke Dan. Throughout the Library, six Indigenous artists have contributed art for three spaces, as part of the Indigenous Placemaking initiative.
There’s lots to see and do in Library Express. A sloped pathway takes you throughout this area, where you can pick up your holds, return books on the Bookscalator, and browse through books recommended by Library staff, Influencers, and Chef Eric Hendry. Plus, in the Create Space, use typewriters to type a letter to the new Library or add to the book confessions, then get a glimpse into the design process of the new Library with the exhibit Concept Collection: Imprints.
Grab a drink or some sweet treats at LUKES and relax in the café’s dedicated seating area, or head to the nearby Moms’ Stairway, which features wide steps with seating and a great view of the expansive Children’s Library. (There’s also a separate exterior LUKES café, with an entrance on 3 Street, near 7 Avenue.)
The Children’s Library
This incredible 12,200 square foot space includes a structure for full-body play, the Maureen Proctor Reading Nook, a nursing room, a Questionarium for older kids to solve challenges, create, and play, and — of course — plenty of books and spots to enjoy them.
You might feel like you’re being watched in the Library — by a goldfish! Up close, Christian Moeller’s public art looks like a colourful bookshelf, but take a step back, and a goldfish appears. There’s also lots of comfortable seating here, and in the Julia Turnbull Terrace above.
Throughout the Central Library, you’ll find amenities and equipment including printers and copiers (your Library card gives you $5 of printing per month), wi-fi, gender-neutral washrooms, public computers and Chromebook laptops, plentiful seating, and more than 30 free bookable meeting spaces.
History comes to life with Calgary’s Story, presented by Walt & Irene DeBoni, on Level 4, thanks to the Living History: Glimpses of Our Past digital storytelling kiosk, a tipi, an extensive local history collection, and the Williams & Harris Shared History Centre, featuring a Vintage Media Lab and interactive Story Studio.
Did you know Central Library was built over an active LRT line? The top floor of the Prow boasts the best views of both the city and the engineering marvel below. Read, study, or socialize here, in the Simmons-Harvie Community Living Room.
The TD Great Reading Room
This iconic space is the perfect place for quiet study, contemplation, and reflection. Don’t miss the special collections that surround the room, on topics ranging from censored and challenged books to Calgary Public Library’s history.