The East Village is the future home for the New Central Library and the Simmons Building was the perfect venue to hold its public engagement open house. Saturday, October 27th was a busy day in the East Village as the open house, Feast in the East and BassBus simultaneously took over the area. It was fun retreat for another cold weekend in Calgary. I suffer from a mild case of winter-a-phobia. I’m always on the lookout for great indoor activities to partake in during the colder months.

With my butter chicken nachos (bless you, Naaco Truck for creating this!) in one hand and a hot chocolate in the other, I was introduced to Rosemary Griebel, Special Project Projects Librarian at the Calgary Public Library. “We want to build a library for the people. A place that that you would enjoy visiting and a cultural institution in Calgary.” she explained as we began the tour.

Over 12,000 Calgarians participated in a survey regarding the new facility as part of the first stage of the public engagement process, which began in June 2012. These results were then broken down into four major themes. “These themes are related to the function and role the library has in the community.” Strong visuals accompanied information panels and assisted in envisioning the many possibilities. I even recognized images presented at the 2012 makeCalgary: Culture Spaces event from a few weeks ago.

Rosemary Griebel and other team members at the New Central Library open house

Public engagement isn’t the easiest task to take on but the feedback received is invaluable to the success of any future project. But the Calgary Public Library has a team of knowledgeable and friendly staff and volunteers that made it easy to contribute. I’ll be keeping tabs of the progress on this exciting project!

To learn more, click HERE


1. Awesome spaces and virtual places

In the design of space, how should libraries balance the need for a place of solitude with the need for interaction?

What impact might the changing demographics (cultural, economic, educational and social) have on the design and use of the library?

2. Diverse collections and inspiring resources

How can library staff help support your experience and use of the library in the future?

What would increase your use of the Library’s various collections?

3. Powerhouse programs and signature services

What kinds of programs and services could the library offer to encourage your creativity and self expression?

4. The role of the library in complete communities

What should Calgary and its communities aspire to be and how can the Library help to support that?