For Immediate Release
June 17, 2016
CALGARY—In the wee hours of April 4, 2016, the doors to Calgary’s Central Library were removed to make way for Engine 23, a decommissioned 12 foot tall fire truck weighing 42,500 pounds.
For the next two months, the vehicle sat behind hoarding being retrofitted in preparation for a very special assignment. Today, timed for the summer break, Calgary Public Library and the Calgary Fire Department unveiled The New Adventures of Engine 23—a FREE exhibit that is the cornerstone of Central Library’s Early Learning Centre.
"As a North American leader in Early Learning—with more than half a million children coming through the doors of our 18 libraries each year—Calgary Public Library believes that play is the foundation for all future learning," said Mark Asberg, Director, Service Delivery, for the Library. "Can you imagine a more interactive, dynamic, and playful teaching tool than a fire truck?" he asked the crowd gathered for the grand opening.
"When children pretend they are racing to the scene of a fire atop Engine 23, they are actually building the ‘wiring’ and connections in their brains that help with learning to read. And reading opens doors to all the world has to offer."
A kindergarten class from W.H. Cushing Workplace School were the exhibit’s first official visitors and were treated to a storytime led by Library staff member Tera Johnson, with dramatic assistance from Deputy Chief Joe Zatylny and Bill Ptacek, Library CEO.
Engine 23 was donated to the Library by the Calgary Fire Department, making way for a unique partnership that will see firefighters giving of their time to read to children and share life-saving fire safety tips during drop-in storytimes. Funds from Friends of the Library, such as Jim and Patricia Burns, are supporting the development of programming specific to Engine 23.
"Just think of the impact on a three-year old having a real-life firefighter read to him or her aboard an actual fire engine," said Ptacek. "This is the kind of life-changing programming we are developing now in preparation for New Central Library. Calgary Public Library stands for world class programming, resources, and service. We standing together with incredible partners like the Calgary Fire Department to bring the very best to Calgary’s youngest citizens—the future of our great city."
The New Adventures of Engine 23 exhibit opened at Central Library today and will remain open through 2018. Admission is free with a free Calgary Public Library card—available online at calgarylibrary.ca or at your community library. For details about The New Adventures of Engine 23 and free summer Library programming for all ages, get a copy of the July-August Library Connect, available in-library or at calgarylibrary.ca.
Katherine Cormack 403.703.6431
(Video BRoll available upon request)