‘A love letter’ to the city, new library draws thousands on opening weekend

Opening week for Calgary's New Central Library proved to be busy as many came to experience it for themselves.

Grand Opening: The New Central Library opened its doors to the public and saw many in attendance in downtown Calgary on Nov.1, 2018. (Photo by Darm Uppal/The Press)

It may be early, but Calgarians are clearly over the moon in love with their New Central Library.

Over the opening weekend Nov. 1-4 at the new library, on 3rd Street S.E., just east of city hall, the visually striking new structure attracted more than 42,000 visitors, according to information posted online by library officials.

People entering the new structure for the first time could be heard expressing amazement at what they saw.

And after taking a tour, visitors were still raving about the $245-million library.

“It’s breath-taking,” said Donna Campbell, a SAIT library information technology instructor and former member of the public library board.

“You can’t help but smile when you walk through that door,” Campbell said.

The library is “our love letter to our city,” Ward 7 Councillor Druh Farrell Tweeted on opening day. Farrell is a member of the library board.

Others were equally impressed.

“It’s exactly what the city needed,” says Brendan Conboy, a Calgarian who came to check out the library for himself.

Conboy noted that it is so cold in our city for a large part of the year, so the city needs more indoor spaces like this to exist.

He was mesmerized with the architecture and shape of the building, stating that the atrium was an elegant design.

Conboy wanted to convey the message to all Calgarians to go and visit the library for themselves and experience all the features that make this library unique.

On opening week, the library had fun activities set up for visitors to get them involved. Downstairs was an art room for kids and upstairs a balloon animal station was set up.

Calgarian Nick Colins said the library “lived up to my expectations.”

He added that it was a well-designed infrastructure, and it was easily accessible for people to walk around with a lot of private spaces to study.

Colins liked the fact that they have artist and author residencies and said he would like the chance to talk to one of the authors.

“Anything that allows us to interact is a good thing,” said Colins.

The new building includes a coffee shop inside of the library, a massive theatre space, a jungle gym for kids, a video-gaming room, artifacts and plenty of archives.

Fascinated Local: Stirling McMillan came with friends to explore the new library. McMillan, standing, at left, poses in the New Central Library on Nov. 1, 2018. (Photo by Darm Uppal/The Press)

Stirling McMillan said that he didn’t have any expectations for the library before he came to see it.

“I knew I was going to be blown away!”

He planned to explore the library and check out the old-fashioned typewriters that they had on display.

But for McMillan said it was really all about people.

“It’s like a centre-piece on a dining room table to gather around and converse.”

McMillan said there are plenty of books online, and everyone has internet, but here, all the archives are at people’s fingertips.

No amount of money would equate to all these things. – Stirling McMillan

Anybody can open a drawer and see what kinds of brochures people used to have years ago. For example, they had the actual newspapers on display from the 1940s.

“No amount of money would equate to all these things.”



About Darminder Uppal 2 Articles
As a news reporting and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Darminder Uppal is working as a writer for The Press during the 2018-19 academic year.