17 Things to Do at the New Central Library

  1. Take a Guided Tour
    Discover Central Library’s spaces, services, and art on a free tour led by a volunteer guide. Find out when Central Library tours are offered (and register) on our program page.
  2. Discover Calgary’s Story
    Take a step back in time with the Living History: Glimpses of our Past interactive digital installation on Level 4. Delve deeper into our city’s storied history, with the collection Calgary’s Story, presented by Walt & Irene DeBoni. Plus, don’t miss an opening exhibition from photographer and artist Blaire Russell, in which he juxtaposes archival images of his Blackfoot ancestors with contemporary ideas of identity and place.
  3. Join a Family Program
    The Library is a true family destination. Take in a weekday baby program or Family Storytime, offered twice daily, seven days a week. Or head to the Children’s Library on Level 1M, spanning more than 12,000 square feet. This colourful space includes reading nooks, play areas, lots of books, a nursing room, and an Early Learning Centre.
  4. Learn About the Architecture
    Volunteer guides highlight the creative construction process and iconic architecture of the Central Library on free architectural tours. Can’t commit to a full tour? Get a glimpse into the inspiration and process behind the design of the new Central Library with the Snøhetta Exhibition, featuring concept drawings and models.
  5. See Indigenous Art
    Throughout Central Library, six Indigenous artists have created permanent Indigenous Placemaking pieces. Start with the wall mural on the main floor, a collaboration by Roland Rollinmud, Keegan Starlight, and Kalum Teke Dan, then head to Level 1M for Education is the New Buffalo, a large sculpture by Lionel Peyachew. On Level 4, in the Elders’ Guidance Circle, find a collection of furnishings by Glenna Cardinal and a large photo and text-based piece by Brittney Bear Hat.
  6. Find a New Favourite View
    All those windows mean stunning views nearly every which way you look. Glance out the windows near FISH, the public art piece on Level 3, and you’ll see ghost signs painted on the sides of two nearby historic buildings, the award-winning architecture of Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, as well as an unobstructed look down 8 Avenue — all the way to Fort Calgary. And that’s just one view! Find a new favourite vista inside Central Library.
  7. Make a Podcast or Film
    Calling all emerging podcasters and filmmakers. Anyone can use a selection of professional recording equipment in the free, bookable Audio Recording Studio, shoot 4K video against a green screen in the Video Recording Studio, and perfect their piece using audio and video editing software in two Production Studios.
  8. Access Services for Newcomers
    Head to Level 3 for English language learning materials, as well as the World Languages Collection. Settlement Services, provided in partnership with Immigrant Services Calgary, can provide information on immigration, housing, employment, healthcare, childcare, and more. There’s also weekly conversation and writing classes on offer.
  9. Bring Your Work to the Library
    Freelancers rejoice…there’s a new favourite place to work in Calgary. With more than 30 free bookable meeting rooms, plus thousands of comfy chairs, there’s a spot for you. We highly recommend the laptop bars on Level 2 and 3, which offer views of the central Oculus skylight above and the Shaikh Family Welcome Gallery below. Plus, Calgary Public Library members can borrow Chromebooks for in-Library use for free.
  10. Take a Technology Program
    Programs are held every day in The Norrep Foundation Tech Connect Studio on Level 3, on topics including Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), basic computing, and how to use our E-Library. Come learn, connect, and innovate with us.
  11. Meet with a Career Counsellor
    Drop in at the Job Desk on Level 3, where you can meet with a career counsellor for help with job searching, networking, resumé and cover letter development, interview skills, and more.
  12. Refuel at LUKES
    There are two LUKES cafés at Central Library. Enter the downstairs café from 7 Avenue and enjoy the usual coffee shop offerings, plus a breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu. The interior café, on Level 1M, features smaller snacks. There’s plentiful seating to eEnjoy your beverage at either café’s plentiful seating, or sit on the wide-stepped Moms’ Stairway, a bustling spot with a view of the Children’s Library below.
  13. Share Stories
    In the William & Harris Shared History Centre, you’ll find a Vintage Media Lab full of equipment once commonplace, like microfilm readers, typewriters, a book press, and 16mm film reels. Or, keep it modern in the Story Studio, where you can use a digital photo booth to record short videos and take photos.
  14. Technology Just for Teens
    There’s dedicated space on Level 3 just for teens, including the Teen Tech Lab, with equipment ranging from sewing machines to robotics. Teens can also use studios and performance spaces to create videos and music, take a break on one of the gaming stations, or attend daily programs like School’s Out, Open Lab, and codeTEEN.
  15. Kids Can Get Creative
    Older kids can submerge themselves in underwater life in a space designed just for them. The Questionarium on Level 1M will inspire their creativity and problem-solving with games, artmaking, and expert encounters.
  16. Watch the Bookscalator
    Return your borrowed 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.
  17. Attend an Event
    Central Library will host events regularly, in spaces like the Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall and the BMO Financial Group Community Room. Our partners are hosting numerous free events this November, including the Marda Loop Justice Film Fest, opens a new window (November 13 – 18), Wordfest presents Susan Orlean with The Library Book, opens a new window on November 21, and Thrive’s 2018 Community Huddle on November 29. View all of our programs at calgarylibrary.ca/programs, opens a new window
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