At 91 years old, Lois has been a long time lover of the library. She frequently visits her community library, Signal Hill branch, which, to Lois’ delight, is only two blocks away from where she lives. She finds the staff most pleasant and enjoys visiting the library to see people from diverse backgrounds pursuing their love of reading. One day, she came across an article in the Calgary Herald about the problem of loneliness in our society. This piece resonated with Lois as she lives in a condo building with hundreds of units but very little social interactions among the residents. While Lois has tried to invite other elderly residents to join her at the library, many do not share the same love she has for the place.

“Some elderly people living here are dismayed when I suggest they go to the library. I might have suggested they go to the moon. I believe they haven’t been in a library since they were in school, and in many cases that could be 50 years ago… I think if they could just be brought to the library they would see for themselves what a very pleasant experience a visit to a library is.”

Like Lois, we know the library is a critical piece of social infrastructure to our city’s fabric. When people engage in regular interactions, especially while doing something they enjoy, relationships and community inevitably grow. The role of the library has expanded in the past 50 years from a house of literature and knowledge to a space where groups can hold meetings, authors, artists and historians can have residencies, and services can be provided to newcomers and adult learners. Support from donors like Lois opens up our city to a world of potential, to having the best public library system in the world.

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