Calgary's Central Library
Calgary's Central Library
What is the Central Library and why is it a big deal?
No doubt that the first thing to catch your eye when you arrive at the Central Library is the impressive exterior – the sweeping, breathtaking architecture, the western red wood cedar archway and an expansive mosaic of windows. You’ll marvel at the fascinating view of the active LRT line running beneath the archway of the library! Don’t forget to look up: within steps of the main entrance, visitors are treated to a visual spectacle of wall murals, winding staircases, vaulted ceilings and a gorgeous giant Oculus skylight beaming with natural light.
This four-story landmark is stunning and incredibly functional, too. With nearly half a million items spanning its collection, more than 30 community meeting areas, a 12,000 sq. ft. Children’s Library and a 400-seat Performance Hall, the Central Library is truly a place to celebrate a lifelong love of learning and to gather with fellow creators, dreamers, innovators and thinkers.
What can I do at the Central Library?
There is no shortage of things to do, see, explore and of course, read at the Central Library.
Art lover? Gaze at FISH – the vivid bookshelf-turned-wall-art by artist Christian Moeller. Don’t miss the works of art by six Indigenous artists – all from or with a connection to Treaty 7 – featured throughout the library as part of the Indigenous Placemaking Initiative.
Games fanatic? Grab a seat and enjoy a little friendly competition with your crew at the Teen Centre. Kick it analog with a popular board game from the collection or go digital with video games on the big screen.
History buff? Browse the volumes of historical collections for in-library use, visit the Vintage Media Lab (with microfilm readers, 16mm film reels and more) or the modern digital storytelling kiosk, and pop by the Historian in Residence’s Studio. You’ll get a fresh perspective on Calgary’s Story – past, present and future. Budding podcaster or YouTube host? Check out the recording studios onsite, fully decked out with green screens, video cameras, mics and the like (and yes, the studios are available to book for free).
Avid writer? You’ll find plenty of places to put your creative inspiration to paper or digital if you wish. Pull up a chair to one of the vintage typewriters, borrow a Chromebook for in-library use, or simply curl up in a cozy nook with your notebook and pen.
Foodie or coffee lover? Be sure to pop by two locally-owned eateries onsite – LUKES café and LUKES restaurant. You’ll be surprised and delighted to know that you can drink your coffee (with a tightly-secured lid, of course) in many designated areas throughout the library.
How long should I spend at the Central Library?
On average, visitors spend up to two hours at the Central Library. Though, if the book you’re reading is a real page-turner or the creative juices are flowing, it wouldn’t be surprising if you lingered a bit longer. This isn’t your typical library, after all!