Calgary’s new Central Library is pretty stunning

There are a lot of libraries all around Calgary and the main location is downtown, but this was going to be replaced by a new Central Library and ever since we moved to Calgary they have been in the process of building it, but now it’s finally open.

We have been watching this being built and you could tell it was going to be no ordinary building. With its curved shapes and modern architectural design it was certainly starting to look like an iconic building. Well, this week it finally opened to the public and we got our first taste and it is defiantly an architectural marvel.

It has taken 10 years from deign to completion to get to this point. It cost $245 million, which sounds a lot, but when you consider some homes here cost $5 million or more, I really don’t think it’s so bad, especially as it was built within budget and completed on time. There aren’t a lot of places than can boast that these days.

In total the library is 240,000 sq ft and occupies four storeys with over 450,000 books. Inside the  architecture is pretty stunning, especially the central staircase.


Inside there are of course books, but there is a lot more including a performance hall, TV lounges, reading rooms, computers, printers, digital learning lab, children’s library and cafe, to name but a few.

I have to say I was completely stunned by the actual building and how it has been built, it is stunning, but the books side of things left me a bit deflated. I know there are 450,000 books here but I felt that they were not laid out as good as they could have been.

By this I mean that the different sections were not subdivided and labeled as you normally see in libraries and indeed most books stores. For example the cooking section had lots of books, and they were in sections such as desserts, Italian etc, but they were not labeled as such. So, you have to go through all the many shelves of books to find the section you want. Just some simple labelling would be really helpful.

One area I had read about was the book wall mural. I was expecting a mural made of books, using the colours of the covers or spines to depict the image, but it wasn’t really that at all. Instead it was a very nice mural made up of lots of coloured strips of fabric. It looked great, but not the book wall I was expecting.

Overall, this is a stunning building and not one to be missed if you are visiting the city. We will certainly be making use of it, borrowing books and using their printing facilities and other perks that come with membership, which incidentally is free.

It is stunning from the outside and even more so on the inside and I’m sure is going to serve Calgary for many years to come.