Introducing the new Central Library’s First Five Members

At the opening ceremony for Central Library on November 1, five special members joined Library CEO Bill Ptacek and Mayor Naheed Nenshi on stage. Instead of a ribbon cutting, these people were presented with the first five Library cards at the new building. The five members represent the more than 670,000 active Library members across Calgary.

Alex Grinwis is a 17-year-old Grade 11 student who has been using Calgary Public Library since a very young age. Alex loves reading, and is also passionate about music — playing piano, guitar, ukulele, and currently learning violin. When asked what they’re looking forward to about the new building, they said: “I’m just looking forward to having such a cool space to be able to go and do homework or find new books.”

Nikki Brule is the proud owner of Yummy Yogis, a small business she helped develop and grow by using the Library. Nikki does a lot of research for her business at the Library, and often brings along her six-year-old daughter. As an entrepreneur who works from home, she enjoys having a space to come to, surrounded by books, where she can work and connect with others.

Mirna Khaled arrived in Calgary from Lebanon in 2015, in search of better opportunities for her children: nine-year-old twins Jalal and Julia. Mirna appreciates the accessibility of the Library as Julia has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. In Calgary, Mirna and her children visit the Library two to three times a week; they like to read, play, and meet new friends. There’s even a book about Julia, written by Mirna and Julia’s aunt, on library shelves!

Frank O’Keefe is a longtime Library member who first got his Calgary Public Library card about 50 years ago. Frank, who is originally from Ireland, is a former teacher who has written and published eight young adult novels. He recently published his first adult novel that staff members at Shawnessy Library helped to review. Frank visits the Library several times a week and brings his wife — who has Alzheimer’s — to the Coffee and Conversation program, for some chitchat and good company. “As an older patron, what I get out of the Library now is companionship,” he says.

Felix McLeod Saunders is just two and half years old and is ready for his first Calgary Public Library card! His mother Maranda is excited to have a new, public space in Calgary where she and her young children can connect with their Indigenous culture and learn together. Plus, Felix is really into books.

Special thanks to these five members and to everyone who joined us for the opening ceremony of Central Library!