100 Reasons to Love the new Central Library

July 24 marks 100 days to the opening of Central Library. In honour of this milestone, read on for 100 features — presented in no particular order — that will have you counting down the sleeps to the opening of Calgary’s newest Library.

  1. The Archway        
    Reason number 1: The Archway

    The gorgeous outdoor archway that welcomes everyone into the Library is built with western red wood cedar. The wooden soffit’s design is inspired by the chinook arch cloud formations common to Calgary’s skies.

  2. Shaikh Family Welcome Gallery
    As you enter Central Library, you’ll find yourself in the Shaikh Family Welcome Gallery. The warm and beautiful gallery will be the centre of the Library, bringing all the floors together.
  3. Opening Day and Weekend
    Planning is underway for opening day and weekend celebrations you won’t want to miss! Stay tuned to see all the festivities we have in store.
  4. BMO Community Room
    A free, bookable community space, the BMO Community Room will be a vibrant hub for the sharing of knowledge among Calgarians.
  5. TRIO
    TRIO is the public art piece located outside of the building. Whimsical and colourful, the three moving pieces by artist Christian Moeller add a pop of fun to the landscape.
  6. Outdoor Spaces
    Central Library is lucky to be surrounded by outdoor spaces for all to enjoy, designed to be vibrant, welcoming, and accessible.
  7. Library Express
    Conveniently located on the main floor, here’s the spot to pick up your holds, find popular new titles, and browse through books recommended by Library staff.
  8. Accessibility
    Gentle, sloped ramps — designed for easy access, wheelchairs, strollers, and everything in between — connect each floor seamlessly. There are also elevators throughout the building.
  9. Storied Location
    The confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers is known to the Blackfoot as Moh’kinsstis. Before it was Fort Calgary — the birthplace of the modern city of Calgary — it was a gathering place for Indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Throughout Central Library, artwork and installations by Indigenous artists acknowledge this storied land and the narratives of the people who call it home.  
  10. Welcome Kiosks
    You’ll be able to book meeting rooms, see what’s happening at the Library on the day you’re visiting, and more when you use the new Welcome Kiosks.  
  11. Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall
    The Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall is a stunning space, with a warm wooden ceiling that’s mirrored on the walls by vertical slats. You’ll want to linger after the performance you’re watching is over, just to enjoy the natural warmth of the space.
  12. Michael Green Green Room
    This will be a place where speakers and performers can prepare prior to entering the Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall. It’s named in honour of Michael Green, a driving force and visionary for Calgary’s arts community.
  13. Bow River Connection
    CMLC, the master developer of the East Village and Central Library, is working on a streetscape improvement project for about five city blocks of 3rd Street SE. This project will connect Central Library with the beautiful Jack and Jean Leslie RiverWalk — an award-winning pathway with dedicated pedestrian and cycle lanes — and the Bow River.
  14. Windows of Opportunity        
    Reasons number 14 and 70: Windows of Opportunity and All the Windows

    Many people have left their mark on Central Library by purchasing group or personal windows and having a short message inscribed. Proceeds from the Windows of Opportunity campaign support the entire Calgary Public Library system. Purchase yours at mylibrarywindow.ca by September 21, and on opening day, come read the messages people have left behind.

  15. Indigenous Placemaking
    Permanent art by local Indigenous artists is placed in three areas throughout Central Library. The collaborative pieces reflect the vast cultures and communities in Treaty 7 territory.
  16. Engineering Marvel
    Did you know Central Library was built over top of the existing CTrain line? This unique foundation greatly influenced the building’s stunning design.
  17. The Bookscalator
    Return your books on the bookscalator, a giant escalator just for books! It allows titles to be transported to the Level 2 sorting room, plus it’s really fun to watch.
  18. A Library For You
    The input of 16,000 Calgarians, gathered during two years of public engagement, informed Central Library. We can’t wait for you to see this new gathering place.
  19. New Programs
    Calgary Public Library offers hundreds of in-person programs for everyone: babies, toddlers, preschoolers, families, kids, parents, teens, newcomers, small business owners, job seekers, and anyone looking for learning and enrichment. We’re working with new community partners to offer fresh programs at Central Library; watch our program guide Library Connect to learn what’s new.  
  20. Natural Light
    Hello natural light! The building’s outer shell is made of 465 hexagonal panels, allowing plentiful sunlight to cascade throughout the building.  
  21. High Ceilings
    High ceilings coupled with expansive windows give a sense of openness throughout the five levels at the Library.
  22. Stunning Interior Architecture
    Wood slat walls and ceilings, endless windows, and intricate staircases are just a few of the striking interior features. You’ll have to visit to see it all!
  23. Landscaping
    A beautiful greenspace lush with flowers and plants will make for the perfect outdoor reading spot.
  24. Moonlights
    Moonlights installed on top of the nearby Municipal Building cast quality light on the Library’s landscaping at night, while freeing the sidewalk of extra light poles.
  25. LUKES        
    Reason number 25: LUKES

    Gareth Lukes, the third-generation owner of Lukes Drug Mart, and Chef Eric Hendry, of the award-winning Calgary restaurant Bar Von Der Fels, come together to bring not one but two cafés to Central Library. In the new spaces, visitors can expect affordable food with a local emphasis.

  26. Outdoor Elevator
    To ensure easy access through the open archway at all hours, there is a permanent outdoor accessible elevator available 24 hours a day.
  27. Oculus Skylight
    Look up. The beautiful oculus skylight allows plenty of natural light to enter the core of the building.
  28. Shape of the Building
    If it weren’t for the challenging site Central Library is located on — bisected by a curving LRT line — the building would likely look a lot different. Instead of a boxy building, Central Library is shaped like a graceful ship, sailing into the future.
  29. Bonus Holds
    This exciting new service delivers patrons a literary treat.  
  30. The Influencers
    This display will feature books recommended by influential people.  
  31. Early Learning Centre
    Early Learning Centres are vibrant and interactive spaces designed for young children to learn through play. At Central Library, the focus will be on full-body play, meaning plenty of space for kids to climb, crawl, explore, and imagine.
  32. Reading Nooks       
    Kids in reading nook in Saddletowne Library
    Reading nooks, like this one in Saddletowne Library, will be available for kids in New Central Library. (Reason number 32.)

    There are quiet spaces too, like cozy reading nooks designed just for kids.

  33. Features for Families
    In addition to an Early Learning Centre, the new Library is home to a toddler nook, children’s library, and nursing room.
  34. Moms’ Stairway
    Named to honour all moms past, present, and future, the Moms’ Stairway connects the second-floor café with the Early Learning Centre. It’s a space to grab coffee, sit on the steps, watch your kids play, and relax.
  35. Nearby Amenities
    Jack and Jean Leslie RiverWalk, St. Patrick’s Island, and Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, are all nearby. Spend a day in the East Village, an area undergoing an exciting transformation.
  36. LEED Gold Certification
    Central Library was built to be as sustainable as it is beautiful and functional. Designed to LEED gold certification, it meets a wide range of tough, specific criteria for green building practices.
  37. Author in Residence
    Our Author in Residence program is getting amplified. Marcello Di Cintio, an award-winning journalist and non-fiction author, will be the first author to take up the post in Central Library.
  38. A New Central Connection
    The site where Central Library sits is a key connection between east and west downtown. Thanks to an open outdoor passageway, there’s a new visual and pedestrian connection between East Village and Calgary’s downtown!
  39. New Books
    How does the new Central Library stack up to current Central Library? We’re adding over 100,000 more books to the collection, bringing it up to 450,000 books. That’s a lot of reading to be done.  
  40. More Computers
    We’re adding 100 more public computers to Central Library!  
  41. Volunteer Lounge
    Volunteers at Central Library will have access to a volunteer lounge on the second level.
  42. Terentiuk Space for Adult Learning
    Adult learners have a special space in Central Library.
  43. Collective Gaming Area
    Gaming? In a Library? Yes, on Level 3 at Central Library, there’s a space just for this!
  44. CNOOC North America Digital Commons
    This technology-based collaborative environment is modelled on information commons and open design studios.
  45. Idea Lab
    The Idea Lab is getting bigger and better. Unleash your creativity and access tons of resources.
  46. Audio Video Editing Suites
    Are you the next big YouTube, IGTV, or podcast creator? Access a production booth, video editing suites, and an audio suite — all for free.
  47. FISH        

    Have you ever stared at a goldfish inside of a bowl? Well, we’re now in the bowl and the fish is staring back. FISH is artist Christian Moeller’s public art piece inside Central Library, made of nearly 11,000 custom books with spines in 12 different colours.

  48. Staircases
    Admit it, we’ve all imagined getting lost in winding staircases in large libraries. Well, your dreams will come true here. Beautiful wood staircases that climb up — toward the stunning skylight — are a defining feature in this building.
  49. Teen Space
    The Teen Space will be 2,100 square feet bigger than the one in old Central Library.  
  50. Career Services
    Need help perfecting your cover letter? Looking to access career resources in Calgary? Central Library will have an area dedicated to career services.  
  51. Services for Newcomers
    There’s a new home for Services for Newcomers, on Level 3. Staff on this floor can help you with your resumé, learn a new language, or adjust to your new life in Canada.
  52. Free Printing and Copying
    Did you know that you receive $5/month of free printing with your Library card? There’s even more printers in Central Library!
  53. Cenovus Campus Calgary Library School
    At Cenovus Library School, students, their teacher, and parent volunteers use the Library and its five floors of story as their classroom for a week of hands-on, inquiry learning. Talk about a cool place for school.
  54. Cenovus Campus Calgary Classroom
    There’s a dedicated classroom inside Central Library, just for Cenovus Library School students and teachers.
  55. Silent CTrain        
    Reasons number 16, 55 and 96: Engineering Marvel, Silent CTrain and Proximity to the CTrain

    Did you know that the CTrain runs under the building, coming out on the north end and weaving its way into downtown? You can’t tell when you’re inside Central Library, thanks to some serious soundproofing.

  56. Meeting Rooms
    There are more than 30 free meeting rooms for Library members to book, ranging in capacity from six to 20 people. While most rooms can be booked up to two months in advance, some will be reserved just for same-day bookings.
  57. Instagrammable Spots
    Your Instagram feed will be flooded with Central Library photos, and for good reason. The interior is incredible.
  58. Artists in Residence
    This new program at the Library will support emerging artists in the community. There are plans for three Artist in Residence programs each year; stay tuned for more details!
  59. The Prow
    Each section of the prow of the building, overlooking 7th Avenue SE, is over 2,000 square feet. The top floor, with the best views, features a community living room.  
  60. Pink Prow
    Every night, lights on Reconciliation Bridge and the Calgary Tower brighten our city. Central Library has joined in on the fun! The north end prow can light up pink during the evenings.
     
  61. The Prow overlooks Seventh Avenue SE
    Reason number 59: The Prow

    Tried-and-True Features
    Calgary Public Library is piloting new programs and services at libraries across the city, in anticipation of launching them at Central Library. This testing helps ensure all our libraries are imaginative and innovative spaces, while simultaneously giving us an opportunity to prepare for our newest building.

  62. Quiet Reading Spaces
    As you make your way up inside the building, you’ll notice the floors get quieter. You’ll easily find a peaceful spot to read a book, study, write, and more.
  63. Better Elevators
    We heard you loud and clear. Moving throughout the building using elevators will be smoother and better.
  64. Gender Neutral Bathrooms
    Central Library will have more bathrooms, including gender neutral bathrooms.
  65. More Space
    The new Central Library is 75,000 square feet bigger than the old Central Library.
  66. Furniture
    We’ve tested, piloted, and selected amazing furniture for every area of the building. You’ll find lounge chairs for reading, study seating with access to power, chairs of all sizes for children, café chairs, and more — all chosen with flexibility, durability, and accessibility in mind.
  67. Plentiful Tables
    There are 2,266 chairs and seats and 446 tables in Central Library, meaning plenty of space for you to read, study, relax, and socialize.
  68. Flexible Spaces
    Spaces in Central Library were designed to be flexible, with features including partition walls that can separate large rooms.
  69. Williams & Harris Shared History Centre
    This space comprises a story studio and vintage media lab, ensuring our city’s stories are collected and told.  
  70. All the Windows
    The hexagonal panels that form Central Library’s outer shell give the building a distinctive exterior, plus amazing natural light and views inside.  
  71. Window Finish
    The clear, glazed, or fritted finish of the glass panels is about more than just curb appeal. The panels were strategically placed to help prevent heat build-up inside. Triple-glazed glass reduces heat loss and solar gain, while also reducing the costs of cooling the building.
  72. TD Great Reading Room       
    TD Great Reading Room
    Reason number 72: TD Great Reading Room (Illustration: Mir | Extended in courtesy by Calgary Municipal Land Corporation)

    Are you looking for a quiet place to read and study? Head to the top level, where you can sit in pure reading bliss in the TD Great Reading Room. It’s the perfect spot for quiet study, contemplation, and reflection.

  73. Elders’ Guidance Circle
    During community consultations, Calgary Public Library heard about the need for a space to access elders in an urban setting. This room, featuring furniture and art by Indigenous artists, allows anyone to do just that.
  74. Interfaith Room
    This welcome space on Level 4 is intended for people to take a moment to meditate, refresh, and pray.
  75. Simmons-Harvie Community Living Room
    This prime spot on Level 4 is a place where you can read, study, and connect with others, all while taking in the extraordinary view.
  76. Create Space
    The Create Space is a place for community members to collaborate, expand their understanding, and engage in dialogue with others. The features inside change frequently, providing people with whimsical and playful experiences. Come create at Central Library!
  77. The Millar Family Learning & Discovery Room
    The name says it all — come learn and discover in this room on Level 2.
  78. The Norrep Foundation Tech Connect Studio
    Level 3 at Central Library is a hub for innovation and digital technology, especially in this studio space.
  79. Arthur J.E. Child Foundation Business Library
    New Central Library’s business Library and programs are named after Arthur J.E. Child, a Canadian businessman. Here, entrepreneurs can access resources, programs, and support.  
  80. Amazing Customer Service
    Across the Library system, staff have been testing enhanced customer service processes. Staff at Central Library can more easily interact with patrons where they are.  
  81. New Room Bookings System
    You can book and access meeting rooms easily with your Library card. New devices outside rooms allow you to easily secure space for your next group study room, business meeting, or book club.
  82. A Stronger Wireless Network
    Approximately twice the number of wireless access points in Central Library are being installed in the new Central Library. This means the Library’s robust and well-used free wireless system can continue to meet demand.
  83. Calgary’s Story, Presented by Walter and Irene DeBoni
    This space on Level 4 celebrates our local history and brings it to life.
  84. Strong Windows
    The glass curtain wall of Central Library is both iconic — and durable. The unique panels, fabricated by Calgary-based manufacturer Ferguson Corporation, underwent rigorous testing.
  85. Time Capsule of Steel       
    A woman signs a steel beam for the time capsule of steel
    Reason number 85: Time Capsule of Steel

    Prior to the placement of the final steel beam within Central Library, nearly 700 Library lovers of all ages inscribed the 9,000-kilogram beam with messages of congratulations and inspiration for future generations. The mighty steel time capsule is now a permanent part of Central Library.

  86. Proximity to Fabulous Restaurants
    In addition to two cafés by LUKES, the East Village neighbourhood is bursting with great flavours. The nearby Simmons Building is home to Charbar, Sidewalk Citizen Bakery, and Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters. The community is growing and so is our appetite!
  87. Speaker Series
    The fun doesn’t stop when Central Library opens November 1. Stay tuned for announcements on all sorts of new events, including a speaker series you won’t want to miss.
  88. Tours
    We can’t wait to show you around. Guided and self-guided tours will be available when Central Library opens.
  89. Morning Light
    The golden hour takes on new meaning at Central Library. As morning light reflects off neighbouring City Hall, cascading through the west side of the building, the entire Library will be awash with natural light.  
  90. Strong Floors
    While a typical office building is engineered to support a live load of 4.8 kilopascals on its floors, the floors at Central Library are engineered to support a live load of 7.2 kilopascals. Why? Because of the anticipated weight of the books.  
  91. Functional Materials
    At Central Library, it’s not just about aesthetics. Every material used has a specific function, like the western red cedar that defines the entrance. The wood is naturally resistant to decay, making it perfect for the exposed, outdoor archway.
  92. Sustainable Materials
    All wood used in Central Library is FSC Certified, meaning that is it harvested from sustainable, responsibly-managed forests.
  93. Shelving
    It’s all about the little details, right? The shelves in the new Library are functional while still fitting into the aesthetic of the new space.
  94. tiles1948x1252
    Reasons number 94 and 99: Ceramic Tiles and Colour

    Ceramic Tiles
    The shape of the Library’s outdoor walls is repeated inside, in the form of hexagonal tiles on the floor and walls of the bathrooms. Yes, we’re even excited about the bathrooms!

  95. The Views
    Every floor, window, and side of the landmark building offers a new view to be inspired by. See for yourself starting November 1.
  96. Proximity to the CTrain
    Visiting Central Library is easy and convenient thanks to our location right next to City Hall station. That makes carrying home a bag of books much easier.
  97. New Year’s Eve at the Library
    Ring in the new year in style. Stay tuned to see all the fun and family-friendly activities we have in store.
  98. Passing by the Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall
    Travel along 3rd Street SE and you’ll be able to glimpse into the Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall. When it’s not booked for large-scale events, seminars, conferences, or private bookings, the Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall will be animated with programs, to intrigue people passing by.
  99. Colour
    Expect playful pops of colour throughout the new building, from the furniture to the washroom tiles.

100. Free Memberships
You’ll have access to all the above features at Central Library with your free Library card. Not yet a member? Register online or visit any Calgary Public Library location to get your free Library card today. See you at Central Library!