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I'm Obsessed with the Calgary Central Library

Ever since I started living in the camper, a public library has become a lifesaver. They've got free internet, electricity, and air conditioning. All the things I lack when I'm not staying in a campground. So I am a little biased. But even still, the Calgary Central Library is amazing. I mean, look at it!

calgary central library outside


The Calgary Central Library was a $245-million construction project that took just over two years to complete and opened in November 2018. It's 240,000 square feet and holds nearly 400,000 pounds of books over its four floors. The use of timber here is just spectacular to look at. It creates this flowing covered entrance to the library and continues inside around the staircases that highlight the building's odd shape. It all comes to a peak at the glass ceiling which is called"the Oculus" and lets in enormous amounts of natural light. It reminded me a little of the Guggenheim, how you can walk up in a spiral. (We took the elevator and then walked down lol.)


The library has a performance hall, a children's library and jungle gym (shown below), an art gallery, 30 study rooms, and a metro stop running underneath it on street level. (I don't know much about engineering, but I do understand that it is considered an impressive feat to have built this building atop an entire metro stop.) They even have a"Bookscalator" which the placard says carries over 1,200 books per day to the library's different floors. I'm mostly obsessed because it's so beautiful, but these are some impressive additions that make the Calgary Central Library a really great public amenity. It's said to be the city's most ambitious cultural construction project since the 1988 Olympic Games (winter, obviously), and I think it looks like a great success.



The library has these gorgeous windows that look cool, offer awesome views of downtown Calgary, and prevent extreme heat build-up thanks to the strategic placement of glazed and fritted glass panels. I love the geometric pattern they form from both the outside and inside views. It's such a cool, modern design, and I don't know if I could get any work done here or if I'd be too distracted by the architecture.


inside the calgary central library looking out the windows

I was obsessed with the interior design as a whole. It's very modern and clean. You can see the pandemic's influence in how well spread out everything is. I loved that the stacks were all half-height, so you could still see over them. It gives such a sense of space and airiness whereas most libraries have stacks that feel like they are towering over you.


Five out of five stars for this library. I imagine I would spend a lot of time here if I lived in Calgary. It seemed fairly popular compared to most public libraries I've been to, even considering its size. Advertisements showed that the library hosts public events and series, and the university is right across the street, accessible via a Skyway bridge, of course.

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