Calgary Public Library has been inspiring life stories for more than 100 years. We want to know how the Library has made a difference in your life.
- Did the Library help you find a job or start and grow a business?
- How has the Library made you feel more connected to your community?
- What Library books, resources, programs, or services are essential to you?
- How has the Library brought your family closer together?
Tell us more about how Calgary Public Library has changed your life.
Houmou Guiro is no stranger to libraries. She has visited them since she was seven years old, checking out books every few weeks. But when Houmou moved from France to Canada two years ago, she discovered a library system much different than the one she was used to.
She now regularly visits Louise Riley Library and Central Library, and uses resources for personal and professional development.
Calgarians have shared their 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.
Read all 16 stories we published in 2018, and then tell us your story! If you have a story about why you love your Library or how the Library has made a difference in your life, share it with us.
Frank O’Keeffe has lived all over the world, but no matter where he travels one thing never changes — how close he stays to his local library.
“I’ve always gone to the library wherever I’ve lived. They are invaluable places in our communities, and have always brought such joy to my family,” he says. “We went to live in Australia for a year when our daughter was two, we even had a library card there as well.”
Eleven-year-old Esandi Babaranda loves Calgary’s libraries. She has been visiting libraries weekly for the past four years, ever since her family moved to Calgary from Vancouver.
Esandi goes to Crowfoot Library, in the city’s northwest, most often. “It’s beautiful here,” she says.
It’s hard for Esandi to pick her favourite thing about Crowfoot Library, because there is so much she likes to do.
Four years ago, Henry Bastidas left his home in Venezuela and moved to Canada. Henry sought a safer place; he lived near the capital city Caracas, one of the most dangerous cities in the world.
An engineer in Venezuela, Henry arrived in Calgary speaking only Spanish. He soon started an ESL program at the University of Calgary, where a friend recommended he also attend drop-in ESL classes at the Calgary Public Library. Eager to improve his English, he decided to check out the free newcomer programs.
As Calgary Public Library moves into the new Central Library in East Village, staff, volunteers, and patrons say goodbye to the current building. Our downtown home for more than 50 years, many people have favourite memories and spots at Central Library.
Two years ago, Michelle Robinson started an Indigenous-focused book club called Chapters & Chat, inspired by the federal government's #IndigenousReads initiative. The book club continues to meet monthly at Forest Lawn Library, where free meeting space is available, to share coffee, snacks, and great conversation.
When Calgary mom Mirna Khaled’s young daughter Julia felt she could not relate to picture books because none of the characters were in a wheelchair like her, Mirna helped write Julia her own book.
Julia is an eight-year-old who has cerebral palsy. Her mother Mirna wanted people to "see her, not the wheelchair," so she and Julia’s aunt, Rawan Khaled, wrote and illustrated a book about Julia and her cousin Annabella, called Julia and Bella. Read more »
Val Lawton is an illustrator who has worked on more than 30 books. Ever since she was a kid, she dreamed about becoming an artist — and credits Calgary Public Library with helping her get there.
“I owe Calgary Public Library a great deal, as it was there that I did all my research, where I discovered who my favourite illustrators are, where I determined what my favourite illustration style is, and where I researched the business side of the children’s book publishing industry,” she says. Read more »
Daniel Rankin and his daughter Christine stumbled across Memorial Park Library, and signing up for a Library card only brought them closer together. Read more »
Library Stories Contest Winners
Thank you to everyone who entered our Library Stories contest. We heard from more than 100 people who shared powerful stories about the difference the Library has made in their lives.
Find who the winners of the Luke's Drug Mart gift card and Library Store prize pack. Read more »
Scottie Grinton is a longtime Library member, a voracious reader who upped his visits when he became a father and started bringing his young son. Then in the mid ’90s, with his marriage on the rocks, the Library took on new meaning to him.
“The Library deserves a bunch of credit for contributing to the saving of my sanity and my spirit,” he says. Read more »
Nellie Befus has volunteered with Calgary Public Library for 44 consecutive years. At age 90, she holds the distinction of being the Library’s oldest volunteer, and one of the Library’s longest-serving volunteers.
Her dedication to the Library was sparked on a warm fall day in 1974, when Nellie bumped into her brother-in-law on a downtown street. “How are things with you?” he asked. Read more »
Norma High, a volunteer who joined the Library in 1974, is so passionate about bringing books to people who can not otherwise access them that she got her whole family involved in the cause.
For nearly 44 years, Norma has volunteered with the Libraries in Residence program, delivering books to people in a continuing care facility. Norma, 85, is one of the Library’s longest-serving volunteers. Read more »
As a little kid in the 1980s, I had assumed public libraries only existed on television — that they were part of a dream world that was totally unattainable in my own life as a child of Chinese immigrants. But when I was eight-years-old, a friend’s mother suggested we go get some books at the Library. In Calgary? Really? We had more than just school libraries here?
Roaming among shelf after shelf of books, I was hooked . . . Read more »
Growing up, Stephanie Mok found the Library to be a “safe haven.”
Stephanie, now 27, grew up in southeast Calgary and frequented Fish Creek Library and Southwood Library. She spent most of her time after school and on weekends, from the age of 8 until she was 14, at the Library. To Stephanie, this was “a pretty critical timeline” in her life. Read more »
My name is Rachel Murphy and I have two boys, Fraser and Anderson, ages three-and-a-half and two. They are growing up with a love of reading and Calgary Public Library is a big reason why.
I spent a lot of time at the Library during my maternity leaves. We attended Drop-in Family Storytimes, and signed out each of the six themed Read and Play kits at Quarry Park Library. The Library was a place where I felt very comfortable bringing my boys because kids are encouraged to learn through play. Read more »
After years of discrimination, threats, and violence because of their sexual orientation, Boban Stojanovic and his partner fled Serbia in October 2016 and claimed refugee protection in Canada. As they adjusted to life as newcomers in Calgary, they began to hear a common question.
“Everyone kept saying ‘have you been to the library?’ ” says Stojanovic, a prominent Serbian human rights activist and key organizer of the Belgrade Pride Parade. “We were like, ‘OK, but why?’ Read more »