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Physical, Virtual, Digital

When you were little, along with all the great kids’ books, did your community library have a full-size fire truck where you could play with the lights, test the siren, and take in story times with a real-life firefighter? (Visit for details on The New Adventures of Engine 23!)

When you were a teen, did you hang out at the library, learning code and building your own apps?

Did your parents brush up on their job interview skills or update their résumés… at the library? Or download bestsellers, magazines, movies, music, or newspapers from around the globe on their tablets for free from the library? (Last year, Calgarians downloaded more than 1,000,000 eBooks from the Library - with no late fees!)

Today’s library is so much more than a building or rows of great books; today’s library is a transformational space - virtual and physical - that encourages you to wonder, seek, discover, and share all that you find there.

Today’s library is there for Calgary’s youngest citizens, helping parents and caregivers play with their little ones in order to build their minds and prepare them for a future of life-changing learning. The Library’s Early Learning Centres offer parents and caregivers the opportunity to let their babies, toddlers, preschoolers play with others in dynamic, creative, and fun spaces while they learn how to socialize, read, sing, talk, and play.

Kids struggling with math or reading (and every subject in-between) can look to today’s library to get free homework help in person or online ( They can even get personalized reading recommendations delivered via email (

Every Fall, a large number of Calgary’s children return to school experiencing ‘summer slide,’ forgetting much of what they learned the year before. Calgary Public Library offers a variety of summer programming to ensure kids, especially those who may not have had access to summer camps and activities, are immersed in fun happenings that keep them learning!

This past summer, kids participated in the TD Summer Reading Club for kids and YouthRead for teens. To top it off, the Library’s Million Question Challenge (MQC) challenged Calgary’s kids to ask more than 1 million questions over July and August - engaging their brains in dynamic activities to stretch those neurons and teach kids the art of inquiry and research techniques (helpful tools for the years ahead).

Library Month at Your Daycare sees Library staff visit daycares four times over the course of a month, sharing books, songs, rhymes, and activities. Little ones and their daycare staff benefit, and families get their very own free Library cards!

After a 25-year absence, the Library’s Book Truck came to life in March and ever since, has been swarmed by kids at schools, festivals, and community associations eager to get books, movies, and resources. Adult selections are also available! Book Trucks roll into neighborhoods, allowing the Library to support communities that may not yet have a library, as well as groups that may not have easy access to books. For more information, visit

Today’s library collaborates with community partners including Alberta Health Services to offer workshops on Understanding Aging, as well as Understanding Teens. Other community partners work with the Library to provide programs on money management, family law, wills, history, TEDXCalgary meetups, heart-healthy living, and so much more.

Entrepreneurs have access to the Library’s Small Business Tuesdays programs where experts share tips with Library patrons on everything from marketing to management, and from Facebook to financial planning.

Into ideation (or want to be)? Calgary’s Central Library offers the Idea Lab, a creative space loaded with just enough technology to allow for stimulating conversation and idea generation around topics as far ranging as Creative Thinking and StartUp Moms.

Newcomers to Canada, thanks to partners such as the RBC Foundation and the Government of Canada, have access to the Welcome to the Library program, which features a series of videos in 18 languages, as well as Library Welcome Tours and Welcome Library cards. For more information, visit

The Book Club in a Bag program provides patrons with everything they need to offer a sure-to-get-them-talking book club for neighbors and friends. The Library also offers a Talking Books book club for blind or visually impaired patrons.

Offering hundreds of free programs to thousands of Calgarians of all ages would not be possible were it not for the more than 2,500 volunteers giving 53,000+ hours each year. Their gift of time allows the Library to offer more programs to more Calgarians in more places.

If you haven’t been to your community library lately, go… now! Calgary has 18 community libraries (visit ‘Hours & Locations’ at Everything is free with your free Calgary Public Library card ( Find out about all of our program offerings in Library Connect, available online or in-library.

For more information about the Calgary Public Library, call 403-260-2600 or visit their website, Feeling Social? Visit them on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest too.

Calgary’s Child Magazine © 2023 Calgary’s Child