Whether you support the Library because you are an active member, or because it provides all Calgarians with the programs and resources they need, thank you.

Donor support made great things possible at the Library in 2023:

  • 1,511
    devices checked out through the Borrow a Computer program.
  • 20,000
    books added to Library collections through donor support.
  • 1,098
    children added to the My First Bookshelf program.

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Support our community by making a donation to the Library.

In 2022, the Library spent $2,611,582 of donor funds.

Spring 2024 Update

During the first months of 2024, Calgary Public Library experienced a significant surge in attendance numbers within services and programs, marking a promising start to the year. These offerings are made possible through collaborative efforts with various organizations such as Alberta Health Services, Calgary Fire Department, Calgary Opera, Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta, WP Puppet Theatre, and many more. Additionally, the Library announced a new partnership with Contemporary Calgary, facilitating shared access to their art gallery. Through this partnership, 105 Art Pass books have been introduced, providing families with a three-week loan period to explore the gallery. Each pass is designed to encourage creative expression, as recipients are encouraged to write and draw in them, transforming them into unique works of art. 

All 21 Library locations were open for Family Day this year. The system had 15,616 visitors that day—a 41% increase in net visits compared to 2023. In partnership with The Camera Store and Canon, the Library offered free family portraits by professional photographers at 11 locations. Other elements included Storytime with your Stuffy, a popular wooden bookmark craft, video games, and board games. Library volunteers played a pivotal role in the success of this special day, with 113 adult and youth volunteers supporting the festivities across the system.

Quick stats, first quarter 2024

  • 4,406,097 items checked out
  • 776344 active members (as of April 2024) 
  • 4,009 programs delivered
  • 1,787,501 visits across 21 Library locations
  • 392,837 Wi-Fi sessions
  • 23,062 bookings in 107 meeting rooms


Supporting Children and Youth

In April, the Library celebrated the re-opening of Engine 23 in the Early Learning Centre at the newly renovated Fish Creek Library. Fish Creek is the second-largest location in our system, and its extensive renovation includes a completely refreshed Children’s Library that has Engine 23 as its centerpiece. We extend a special thank you to Firehouse Subs and our named space donors, plus all the donors who have supported the Ladder Up on Literacy campaign. It’s not too late to support Engine 23’s new home at Fish Creek Library! Our team is happy to provide more information about naming a space or purchasing a vinyl brick to support literacy with Engine 23. 

Currently, the My First Bookshelf program has 3,500 active participants and there are 851 children on the waitlist. Since the program started in November 2020, 1,360 participating children are new Library members and 1,209 have graduated from the program, connecting them with free Library resources to help them throughout their school years and beyond. Since the program’s inception, more than 80,000 books have been mailed out to children under five years old, and are theirs to keep forever!

Building Community Resilience

The Library hosted a series of events and discussions in honour of Black History Month. Two film screenings took place in partnership with the National Film Board: True North: Inside the Rise of Toronto Basketball and The Road Taken. The capstone events of the month included a February 25 screening of John Ware Reclaimed, which follows filmmaker Cheryl Foggo on her quest to re-examine the mythology surrounding John Ware, the first Black cowboy to settle in Alberta. She was joined by Kris Demeanor and Miranda Martini for a panel discussion after the film, hosted by Chris dela Torre of CBC. On February 26, former Library Historian in Residence Bashir Mohamed also presented a program on the Civil Rights Movement in Alberta, exploring the history of key figures in Alberta’s Black civil rights history, and making connections to modern civil rights movements. 

Throughout February, the Library activated “Leap Into Love” to encourage romance reading and to acknowledge Freedom to Read Week (February 18-25). Highlighting romance books was an opportunity to celebrate a beloved genre and to shift the conversation on book challenges. The beautiful graphics evoked spring and included a figure flinging their arms wide to celebrate our access to all stories, instead of focusing on the fear typically associated with book challenges.  Many book challenges are related to romantic love between members of racialized and 2SLGBTQ+ communities, or directed at stories of their personal growth and self-acceptance. By highlighting romance books during Freedom to Read week, the Library was able to share stories that celebrate the experiences of these groups. 

Impact Story

Everyone belongs at the Library because the Library belongs to you.

Seven years ago, Adam was a newcomer to Canada, navigating a new culture, norms, and a new community. Like many Calgarians, he turned to the Library for support.

“I had a certain image of what a library was like: a plain building where you go to the front desk, request a specific book, and if it’s available, the librarian brings it to you,” says Adam, recalling his experiences at the library back home in Serbia. “To become a member, you needed to prove your identity and pay for a membership.” 

But what he encountered on his first visit to Calgary Public Library was nothing like he’d anticipated. At the front desk, Adam and his partner were greeted warmly by Library staff. “They showed empathy, explained everything to us, and opened our Library accounts.  Once we had our Library cards and entered the Library, a whole new world opened up to me. I observed how people interacted with each other, how they behaved in the Library, how children were free to play, and most importantly, how the Library was open and welcoming to everyone. I didn’t feel like an outsider.”

For Adam and the 57% of Calgarians who are active Library members, the Library is a transformational, vital community resource. “The support from the Library’s staff was a crucial moment in my new Canadian life that I will never forget. It helped me believe in myself and realize that I could achieve more than I thought.”

Our donors have supported projects like...

My First Bookshelf supports children on their journey to literacy, kindergarten readiness, and lifelong wellbeing. This program, which provides a free, age-appropriate book once a month from birth to age five, is currently at capacity with 2,000 children. In 2022, we hope to expand to 3,000 children and add a text-to-mobile service to share literacy information and Library programs with caregivers.

The Wellness Desk, which brings trained social workers into the Library to provide free mental health, addictions support and referral to services was expanded to Crowfoot Library. The donor-funded program, which is held in partnership with Wood's Homes, is available five days a week in person, or with extended hours via phone or text.

Calgary Public Library and Edmonton Public Library have partnered to raise awareness and engage Albertans in critical dialogue about Human Rights and Holocaust Education. This collaboration is supported by a number of donors, and includes programs, exhibits, virtual tours, community storytelling opportunities and Library collections related to human rights.

The Power of Reading

“I love the for-parents part in the books. I’ve learned the importance of emphasizing and putting on accents for my child. He is excited to walk to the mailbox in case a new book might be there waiting for him. He has memorized the words to a few books and I’ve caught him “reading” to himself a few times. Thank you for this program.” – Anonymous, My First Bookshelf parent 

Learn more about My First Bookshelf

Will you join us?