Sunday, July 6, 2014

257. Calgary Public Library, Crowfoot Branch, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

It had been my plan to visit two libraries in Calgary, the Memorial Park branch and the Crowfoot. My plans for Memorial Park were foiled by the Calgary Stampede and white-knuckle driving in the center of this larger-than-I-would-have-thought city. (I don't like city driving, especially in unfamiliar cities. This was like Boston--but with courtesy!) I did get a glimpse of the building, but only a glimpse.

Having given up on Memorial Park, and needing to get to my next destination before it closed, I reset the GPS and headed for Crowfoot, which was relatively easy to reach. The building is a large rectangle with many windows looking out on views of mountains. Automated Material Handling (AMH) is in use, and there are two book returns in the lobby, unlike one place I could name; you know who you are!

A sign near the lobby reads, "Calgary Public Library--Services for Newcomers--Calgary Public Library welcomes you!" Many libraries welcome new patrons, especially immigrants--I think of Dayton Heights in St. Paul, MN, for example. But I thought this sign was especially nice.

The children's area has four "filtered internet" computers for kids. Short shelves not only serve kids well, but also maximize openness and light in this area. The ceiling is high and the "mechanics" of the building are exposed, but in this area large geometric forms suspended from the ceiling keep it from feeling at all industrial. Picture books are on shelving with two shelves below, a sloping display rack on top. I think this is very effective, especially in the way it allows so many front covers to be shown. It's very attractive.

The Teen Zone is identified by a neon sign on the wall. "Make reading part of your summer--join the club," invites teens to read without being pushy. Another sign says that "Opportunity knocks" and invites teens to volunteer at the library. There is a Youth Read summer reading program on line, too.

A centrally located "living room" browsing area is opposite the entrance. There is an attractive four-sided fireplace and a large-screen TV is suspended from the ceiling.

Most of the adult collection is to the right after you enter. The World Languages collection is the most comprehensive I've seen: Korean, Polish, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, Vietnamese, French, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Japanese, Arabic, Farsi, and many in Chinese. Most impressive is that the signs for each language are in English and in that language; that's very respectful, and I can't recall another library where I've seen it done.

There is a quiet study room, a row of study tables down the middle of the non-fiction collection, and extensive shelves for Holds, of which there were many.

The drinking fountain is a "hydration station," which encourages people to refill water bottles.

Driving here from the central city I became aware of extensive public transportation, which I always like to see. There is light rail, and I saw schedules for 16 bus routes.

Getting back on Route 1 was ... interesting ... because of construction. I'm very glad I stopped here; it was definitely worth it! And I like the motto of the whole Calgary Library system, "Everything you're into." See it on the picture of their truck, below.

For more about the Calgary libraries, go to and

7/5/2014, car


  1. Two return slots? Is the Calgary Library made of money!!!!!!

    1. There are two in the lobby and two on the out side as well. :)

    2. The comment "Is the Calgary library made of money?" is from someone I know who works at a library with just ONE return slot inside and one out, and . I can vouch for the frustration of arriving with a single book to return and being behind a person helping a three-year-old put 20 picture books in,

    3. Something else about Calgary: They are building a new central library, which I hope to visit when it opens--in 2018! The first step is "encapsulating" the light rail, which runs through the site. There is a construction webcam that I like to visit. Change is slow, but it's sort of a "Where's Waldo?" or "what is different today?" experience. Find it at


Comments are welcomed, and I will generally respond to them. Please be tasteful; comments that are in poor taste will be deleted.
Sorry about the "verification" step; I added it after a rash of spammish comments.