I have always loved libraries, with their rows of books and the endless worlds to which you could escape. Growing up, I would walk down to our small-town library with my brother and cousins. We would confidently proclaim that we could read every book on a certain shelf over the summer, giggle behind the stacks with each other, and get shushed by the single librarian at the checkout desk. But we also knew that the librarian was our advocate for getting more of the books we liked, so we were careful not to get too loud.
Times have changed in this digital era, of course, and libraries have reinvented themselves for the 21st century. I can still take out piles of books, magazines, DVDs, or CDs from my local branch. But libraries also offer social programs, online courses and entertainment, board games and play spaces, and in Calgary, you can even borrow a musical instrument or visit a book truck in your neighbourhood! Libraries have become the modern town square, a community hub that offers something for everyone.
With memories of the tiny small-town library where I grew up, with its one librarian stamping the due date in the back of the books I checked out, we went to visit Calgary’s New Central Library for the first time. With a 240, 000 square foot interior, 4 storeys of light-filled floors, and 450,000 new books and collections, the Calgary Central Library offers both soaring architecture and cosy spaces. Libraries have come a long way since I was a kid and I could likely extol the library’s virtues for some time. But for Calgary families, we only need 3 easy reasons to visit the new Central Library this winter.
Fight Cabin Fever
On a cold Calgary winter day, you should head over to the library to find a new book, of course. Curl up in a corner, grab a picture book, or start a new chapter book together. Spend some time doing a game or puzzle that’s been set up at one of the many play stations or find the perfect program for your family. (The library even offers some complimentary childcare, if there’s an adult program you’d like to attend.) In the winter, it’s vital to have a fun, indoor location to visit that is also budget-friendly. Fight cabin fever, get out of the house, and take advantage of the public library.
The new Central Library has an indoor play structure! When I was a kid being shushed in the library, I never would have imagined a place where kids could burn some energy on an indoor playground after they picked out their books. For families with little ones, this is a game-changer. Years ago, the most fun my 2-year-old son had in the library was pulling all the books off all the shelves. Now, those busy toddlers have their own special place to do what they do best. (I haven’t really figured out what that is, but I do know it involves noise and busyness.)
There’s a play area for the kids and a coffee shop for the parents! LUKE’S Cafe is right inside the Central Library (not far from the play structure, thankfully), and offers drinks, caffeinated and otherwise, and light snacks. It’s the perfect touch to get you through a long winter’s afternoon.
Okay, so maybe coffee, play spaces, and central heating aren’t the first things you consider when you’re planning a visit to your local library. Discover your own top three reasons! The library is such a terrific resource, there are countless ways to enjoy your visit to the new Central Library this winter.
Calgary Central Library:
Where: 800 3 Street SE, Calgary, AB