Have you been to the Calgary Central Library?

One of the first things you notice in the new Calgary Central Library, which opened in November, is what isn’t there: a reference desk. Instead, librarians roam the soaring, four-story building, approaching patrons the way salespeople greet customers at the Apple Store.

International architecture firm Snøhetta, which designed the $245 million structure with the Canadian firm Dialog, has some experience with libraries. Its design for the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, built in Egypt in 2002, became a potent symbol of democracy when, during the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, citizens united across political divides to protect the building from harm.

But the Calgary project represented a different sort of challenge: to rethink the public library not as a book vault but as a vibrant community hub. This extends from its variety of spaces—including a wood-clad performance hall, a children’s climbing wall, and a teen tech zone—to the building’s downtown location directly over a light-rail station, making it accessible to people from all over the city. (Less than two months after opening, the library had already had 270,000 visits.)

Readers included, of course: The facility contains a healthy number of books and other media.

Pictures speak a thousand words, so I’ve kept the post short. Enjoy the pics.

Check out my related post: What will happen to libraries?

Interesting reads:







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