Calgary Central Library – 34 Amazing Facts!

ApurvaSeptember 11, 2020
Updated 2023/09/03 at 10:02 AM
by Multipedia / unlimphotos

All Bookworms in Calgary have heard of the Calgary central library. If you are new to the city or just recently got into the beautiful world of books and If you haven’t, you are missing the opportunity to witness an incredible library.

It is not one of those typical public libraries with old buildings and dusty bookshelves. The city of Calgary houses a very modern and innovative Calgary Central Library.

Calgary Central LibrarySource: Shutterstock

But besides its distinctive and alluring design, this famous library draws visitors for various reasons.

This new central library is the ideal destination for you, whether you’re an architectural fanatic or a nerdy person who enjoys exploring public libraries.

Therefore, read the entire essay to get a deeper grasp of this amazing miracle. Let’s look at some fascinating information on Calgary’s new central library.

Amazing Facts about Calgary Central Library

Calgary Central Library

Source: Shutterstock

1. Established by the Prime Minister

The Calgary Central Library looks like a 21st-century wonder but is not as new as it seems. This central library has a history that dates back to around 1908.

The prime minister of Canada established the Calgary Central library before she knew it would be one.

Established in 1908 by R.B Bennett as the board of trustees, the library became the first public library in Alberta and started functioning in 1912.

2. Its a replica of another library in Massachusetts

The building was built with the help of Andrew Carnegie, a known businessman who contributed a significant donation to the library.

It is built out of striking Sandstone found locally in the city. The main building was a replica of another library present in Massachusetts.

3. Calgary Central Library is a branch of the library system prevalent since the 1960s

This new Calgary Central Library is the flagship of the library system branch that has existed here since the 1960s.

In 2018, this previous branch was replaced with this futuristic library. Keeping the library’s aims in it is organized on a spectrum of ‘Fun’ to ‘Serious,’.

As one spirals upwards using the building’s curved surface, the library program locates the busier public events on the lower floors and progressively transitions them to calmer study areas on the upper levels.

Calgary Central Library
Source: Shutterstock

4. Planning started in 2004

The plan to bring some changes and replace the existing old library started in 2004.

After years of research on a suitable location and rejecting three or four finer locations in Calgary, the land adjacent to the municipal building of Calgary by the Calgary municipal land corporation was finalized in 2011.

5. The budget was $245 million

After the area finalization, the funding was collected from 3 different sources, and a budget of $245 million was allocated for its construction.

6. The design was finalized through a Competition

In 2013, a design competition was organized in Calgary, and two companies won.

One was Snøhetta, an international architecture company, and another was DIALOG, a Canadian architecture company.

7. The library sprawls across 75,000 square Feet

The library has been constructed in a humongous area of 75,000 square feet, which also has an entry plaza and an amphitheater that encourages the organization of events and programs here.

The library’s interior is spread over 22,000 square feet with a public plaza or a city hall.

8. Trains pass beneath the Building

A fully functional light rail line crosses the site from beneath the building, which divides the downtown and east village.

It is said that the inspiration for this building’s design and shape was gained from the Chinook cloud arches formations that happened in Alberta.

9. The hexagonal glasses represent the collective Community

The building has scattered modular hexagonal patterns made from transparent fritted glass.

Which may appear like an open book or enclosed house. Still, these are not just patterns; they represent the idea of a collective community.

Calgary Central Library
Source: Shutterstock

10. You can see the interior of the library from all sides and Angles

The Calgary central library is designed so that no matter where you cross, from the train or on the other side of the road, you can see the interiors of this stunning library.

The encapsulated train line includes a very much loved light rail transit line. The unique design has allowed this library’s sides to act as a front door or entrance.

11. All the furniture is made from Red Cedar

The interiors of this library reveal extensive woodwork that is done entirely from the red cedar planks of wood found in British Columbia, which makes it the most massive formed timber shell in the world.

12. What is inside the Library?

The Calgary central library has three floors in total. The ground floor is used for events, which the public can use.

While the other two floors are the quieter study areas for serious study, there’s also a children’s library and many playhouses present inside the library.

13. The glass ceiling allows ample natural Light

The Calgary central library is oval-shaped when looked at from an aerial view.

The magnificent glass ceiling of the library with wood slats grabs the visitors’ attention because it allows natural skylight in the building, and the stairways are along the atrium.

The whole interior leaves you feeling overwhelmed.

14. The building’s impressive architecture improved the city’s Image

The fun fact about Calgary central library is that after its completion in 2018.

It is said that the building and its impressive design have acted as a potential strength in improving the city’s image for the 2026 Winter Olympics game bidding.

15. A retired Canadian astronaut inaugurated the Library

The new central library was inaugurated by the retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.

The celebration of events continued for four long days. Over 52,000 Calgary public and people from around the world visited the library.

The building has received many awards and recognition for its finishing; in 2018, it was mentioned as one of the ‘Best 12 Buildings’ by Architectural Digest, an American monthly magazine.

17. The library won the ‘Architecture Award’ in 2020

It went on to win the ‘Architecture Award’ from the American Institute of Architects in 2020.

In the same year, it won an award for ‘Outstanding Architectural Design’ by the American Institute of Architects, New York.

It moved on to receiving recognition from reputed organizations, like the American Library Association, Library Leadership, and Management Association in 2019 and even a Library Building Award.

18. Calgary Central Library was awarded Global Design Merit in 2019

The list of awards keeps getting longer, with winning the Global Design Merit Award in 2019, awarded by the Society for Experiential Graphics for its unique creativity and thought-provoking ideas.

19. Widespread Recognition

The Central Library has won the Excellence Award from the Canadian Consulting Engineers and the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies in 2019, the award for Building Communities by the CISC Alberta Steel Design Award, and several others like the Canadian Architect Award of Merit and Azure Magazine’s Best Canadian Architecture of the Decade.

20. The Library features 4,50,000 book Titles

The Calgary central library has a great reading room, and its book titles capacity is over 4,50,000, which is one unique fact. The conference room, located at the street level, can accommodate over 350 people.

21. The Mayor titled it the ‘new icon of the city’

The mayor of Calgary city gave the title of ‘new icon of the city to this newly built great library. The library has been precisely categorized for providing privacy while allowing visibility.

Every floor section has multi-purpose rooms and different sets up for analogue, digital, group, and even individual interaction enabling visitors to have a complete experience.

Calgary Central Library
Source: Shutterstock

22. The wooden archway is 85 feet Long

The expansive wood archway that gives the open sky view from the centre of the library has a height of 85 feet, and the curved surface in alternating has the shape of a pointed ellipse, making it a landmark of how unique a public building can be.

23. The ‘curtain wall’ has 485 Panels

The exterior, which adds complex urban conditions to the building, looks like a curtain wall. But it is made from 485 panels, specially designed and installed by a local firm.

24. The library building has 17,000 tonnes of Steel!

The building has over 17,000 tonnes of structural steel inside its frame, which is an excellent deal for a building.

It is said that this much steel can be used for making over 1000 cars of medium stature.

25. The Archway

Western redwood timber was used to construct the beautiful outside arch that welcomes visitors to the library. It has a multi-purpose room line, many built with vertical wood slats.

Calgary Central Library
Source: Shutterstock

The ubiquitous chinook arch cloud formations influenced the shape of the wooden soffit in Calgary’s skies.

The Calgary Central Library has been mentioned in the list of the top 9 futuristic libraries globally, and it deserves the place because there’s nothing ordinary about it.

You will be at the Shaikh Family Welcome Gallery as soon as you enter Central Library. All the levels are connected by the cozy and lovely gallery, which serves as the library’s focal point.

28. A Place to Celebrate

The Central Library hosted the City of Calgary’s New Year’s Eve party two months after it opened, welcoming more than 52,000 guests for Opening Weekend festivities in only four days.

There has been so much to celebrate at Central in the first 100 days, and there will undoubtedly be more celebrations in the future.

29. The community room of BMO Financial Group

The BMO Financial Group Community Room is a thriving centre for information exchange among Calgarians and is a free, bookable community venue.

30. TRIO

The work of public art outside the building is called TRIO. The three animated works by artist Christian Moeller, which are whimsical and vibrant, bring a splash of joy to the scenery.

31. Outdoor Spaces

The Central Library is fortunate to be surrounded by green areas that everyone may use and enjoy. It aims to better the visual and pedestrian connections in the library program.

An outdoor meeting area and theatre were created to provide a lively and welcoming location for outdoor events in the warmer months.

31. Library Express

Here, conveniently on the main level, you may pick up your holds, discover hot new releases, and peruse a selection of books that the library staff recommends.

It is especially there to help your shapes emerge familiar forms with the complex urban condition of people not reading many books.

Calgary Central Library
Source: Shutterstock

32. Computer Bars

The library experience is now available online. Customers may enjoy a breathtaking view while working remotely and checking out library resources from laptop bars that look out onto the Shaikh Family Welcome Gallery.

33. Additional Charging Stations

Thanks to the increased number of power outlets dispersed around the facility, you may explore for hours.

Keep your phone or laptop charged when you visit the library or travel to another location and use the digital resources available.

34. Known Location

The Blackfoot call the Bow and Elbow Rivers’ confluence Moh’kinsstis. For thousands of years, it was a gathering site for Indigenous peoples before it became Fort Calgary, the origin of the contemporary city of Calgary.

Indigenous artists’ installations and works of art may be seen all around Central Library, honoring the region’s history and the inhabitant’s stories.

You can click here for an in-depth insight into the construction of the Calgary central library.

Calgary Central Library
Source: Shutterstock

Closing Thoughts

If you live around Alberta and haven’t witnessed this architectural marvel, your eyes are missing the aesthetics of a few finer things man has made.

If you ever get a chance to visit Alberta, don’t miss the opportunity of exploring this incredible library and its advancements.

This was an article on ‘Calgary public library: 34 Amazing Facts!’ if you have anything to add, please feel free to share your thoughts with us!

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