Public library pushing change by offering free memberships

Kicking off the new year in good spirits, the Calgary Public Library is now offering free memberships to Calgarians.

The promotion is meant to enhance the Library’s reputation for fostering literacy in Calgarians, and to create an ease of access to not only books, but other media via e-resources online.

Calgarians can register for a free membership online, on their mobile phones, or at any library in the city.

“It’s a way to reduce barriers, improve library operations and to enhance the reputation of Calgary public libraries.” said Evette Berry, a manager of Calgary’s downtown library, in an e-mail interview.

The goal is to increase patronage at all 18 library branches, and to double its memberships to 800,000 by the end of 2015.

Since the start of the new year, 10,000 new library accounts have been created.

“This is more than four times higher than last year,” Berry said.

“The library staff is thrilled with the response to free library cards in the city.”

Members are also able to access an increased number of e-resources, like books, magazines and even music, online at the Calgary Public Library website.

The library is engaging in a system-wide collection review and space planning project to increase accessibility to library facilities, reorganize to showcase new materials and create more space for public gatherings.

“The way people use libraries is changing, and the Calgary public library is working hard to respond to emerging needs,” Berry said.

Kansas Brandon, a new member of the library, said signing up was ‘easy.’

“It was so easy to register since all you need is a piece of I.D. and anything that has your address on it.”

Books aren’t the only thing members can sign out. The library offers a wide selection DVDs and Blu-rays.

The way people use libraries is changing, and the Calgary public library is working hard to respond to emerging needs. – Evette Berry

“I was intrigued to be able to sign out Blu-ray movies,” said Brandon.

“I also like being able to return them to any library in the city.”

Along with the free membership initiative, construction has begun at Calgary’s East Village ‘new central library’ which is slated to be open in 2018.

The new library will hold more than 600,000 books.

For more information, visit the Calgary Public Library’s website.

About Karen Brandon 4 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Karen Brandon is working as a reporter for The Press during the 2014-2015 academic year.