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Press Release

The new Central Library opens in Calgary, creating a landmark destination for locals and visitors alike

CALGARY, Nov. 1, 2018 – Today, the Calgary Public Library officially opens its doors to the highly anticipated new Central Library, representing a momentous occasion for the city of Calgary. The $245 million, globally recognized space is the latest example of how Canadian libraries are reinventing themselves as integral gathering places for communities.

“When visitors enter in the new Central Library today, they’ll find a building that is so much more than a place to borrow books,” says Bill Ptacek, CEO for the Calgary Public Library. “We believe each and every person who walks through the doors will find something to take pride in. While the building is spectacular, it’s what’s inside the walls – the programming, services and cultural experiences – that will attract Calgarians and visitors alike.”

The Library expects to welcome tens of thousands of visitors on its opening weekend and reach two million annual visits by 2020. Along with being home to more than 30 community meeting areas, a Performance Hall, a 75,000-square foot outdoor plaza and greenery, stunning exterior and interior artwork, a 12,000-square foot Children’s Library, dedicated spaces for teens, recording studios, over 450,000 collection items and more – all free for members – the Library is also offering new, as well as tried-and-true programs and services to its membership.

“This is an important day in Calgary’s history. We are opening the doors to a community hub which will serve multiple generations to come,” says Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “Starting today, the new Central Library will instantly become a critical, vibrant and accessible space welcoming all Calgarians. It will strengthen our already vibrant East Village and downtown core, and attract people from every corner of our city.”

The grand opening ceremony, which featured music from Indigenous drummers, a blessing from Blackfoot Elder, Kelly Good Eagle Sr., and remarks from both Mayor Nenshi and Bill Ptacek, the ceremony also included a commemorative Calgary Public Library card presentation where its first five membership cards were given out to individuals who represent the breadth and diversity of library users. This evening, Colonel Chris Hadfield presents an opening keynote on the theme of innovation and literacy to a sold-out crowd.

Opening celebrations will continue over the weekend with the Opening Family Fun Weekend on Saturday, November 3 to Sunday November 4.

“As I walk through this building, I am of course in awe of its beauty, but what sticks with me more is the incredible range of powerful experiences visitors will have here,” continues Ptacek. “It is where newcomers can go to learn about their new country, parents can go to inspire a love of learning with their children, and entrepreneurs can go to be inspired to innovate. I would like to tell Calgarians that every inch of this building was dreamed of for you – and we can’t wait to share it with you.”

Located in the iconic East Village of Calgary, the Library will also house two new culinary destinations, Lukes café and Lukes restaurant, led by Gareth Lukes, owner of the Lukes Drug Mart, and Chef Eric Hendry, as well as curated public art by Christian Moeller and permanent art installations by six local Indigenous artists – Keegan Starlight, Kalum Teke Dan, Roland Rollinmud, Lionel Peyachew, Glenna Cardinal and Brittney Bear Hat. The 240,000-square foot building features unparalleled architecture and design features – both beautiful and functional – including a gorgeous western red wood cedar archway, high ceilings with endless windows and intricate staircases. The design team behind the impressive structure was led by Calgary Municipal Land Corporation and included the world-renowned team from Sn?hetta and DIALOG.

Here are some of the additional highlights for opening week activities at the new Central Library:

Thursday, November 1, 2018: Grand Opening Celebration
10:00 am – 8:00 pm
In addition to the opening ceremony, visitors can come down until 8:00 pm to enjoy live music, free tours and special guests.

Thursday, November 1, 2018: Opening Night with Chris Hadfield
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Colonel Chris Hadfield — a heavily decorated astronaut, engineer, pilot, author, and musician — headlines new Central Library’s Opening Day celebrations. Registration and waitlist for this free event are now full.

Friday, November 2, 2018: Lit Gala
7:30 pm
A fundraising event for the Calgary Public Library Foundation where proceeds will help launch a Spotlight Speaker Series to bring world-class thought leaders at the new Central Library.

Saturday, November 3, 2018: FREE Transit & Opening Family Fun Weekend
Calgary Transit will be free from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm to help celebrate our opening, an opportunity made possible through the generous support of donors to Add In—the Campaign for Calgary’s Library, facilitated by the Calgary Public Library Foundation. Celebrations that day include free programming, live music, craft stations, food trucks and tours.

Sunday, November 4, 2018: Opening Family Fun Weekend
Opening Family Fun Weekend continues with additional celebrations, live music, craft stations, food trucks, free programming and tours.

More information on all grand opening activities can be found at Please note that 8 Avenue SE (between 3 Street SE and 4 Street SE) will be closed to vehicular access November 1 to 4 for opening celebrations. The closest LRT station is City Hall station.

Calgary Public Library
Calgary Public Library, with 670,000+ members and 20 locations, has been inspiring the life stories of Calgarians for more than 100 years. It is currently the second largest library system in Canada and the sixth largest municipal library system in North America, with Calgarians borrowing more than 14.6 million physical and digital items and 6.8 million in-person visits last year. The awe-inspiring 240,000 sq. ft. the new Central Library

— the newest gathering place for our city — opens November 1, 2018.

For further information: Media Contacts: Mary Kapusta, Director, Marketing and Communications, Calgary Public Library, P: 403.774.7256, [email protected]; Hailey Carnegie, Account Director, Edelman, P: 403.817.0622 or 403.690.0233, [email protected]


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