Calgary's Story

History of Calgary Public Library

1900s and 1910s

  • 1906: The Calgary Women’s Literary Club is founded by Annie Davidson on February 6, 1906.
  • 1907: Annie Davidson organizes a petition requesting funds from the Carnegie Foundation for Calgary’s first public Library. The Public Library Act is passed on March 15, 1907.
  • 1908: Andrew Carnegie offers Calgary City Council $50,000 to build a Library. Calgary’s public library bylaw is also passed this year.
  • 1911: Alexander Calhoun is hired as Chief Librarian by the Library Board.
  • 1912: Central Park Library (now Memorial Park Library) officially opens on January 2, 1912.
  • 1913: Crescent Heights Library opens on October 15, 1913.
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1920s and 1930s

  • 1923: Reference librarian Georgina Thomson is hired.
  • 1936: The Library begins regular broadcasts on CJCJ radio.
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  • 1945: William R. Castell replaces the retiring Alexander Calhoun as Chief Librarian.
  • 1946: Inglewood Library opens.
  • 1947:
    Calgary becomes the first Library in Canada to loan records.
    A new location in Hillhurst also opens.
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  • 1950: Glengarry Library opens.
  • 1952: The Bookmobile begins service in October 1952.
  • 1954: Alexander Calhoun Library opens in the South Calgary neighbourhood.
  • 1959: Louise Riley Library opens in the Hounsfield Heights-Briar Hill neighbourhood.


  • 1960: Chinook Library opens.
  • 1962: Forest Lawn Library becomes part of Calgary’s Library system when the City annexes the village of Forest Lawn.
  • 1963: Central Library opens at 616 Macleod Trail South.
  • 1964: Westbrook Library opens and Bowness Library is added to Calgary’s Library system when the City annexes the village of Bowness.
  • 1965: Georgina Thomson Library opens in the Collingwood neighbourhood.
  • 1966: Southwood Library opens.
  • 1967: Memorial Park closes and the collections moves to Central Library.
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  • 1970:
    Hillhurst Library closes and the collections move to Sir Winston Churchill School, where the Winston Churchill Community Library opens in September 1970.
    The Westbrook Library also closes and the Shaganappi Library opens in August 1970.
  • 1973:
    Leslie (Les) Fowlie is appointed as the new Director.
    The new Forest Lawn Library location opens in 1973.
  • 1974:
    The Central Library addition to the northside of the building is officially opened by Canadian author W.O. Mitchell.
    Thorn-Hill Library opens.
  • 1975: The Varsity Library replaces the Sir Winston Churchill Community Library.
  • 1977: Memorial Park is restored and reopens as a Library after serving as Glenbow Museum’s reference library and archives for eight years.
  • 1979:
    John Dutton is appointed Director.
    The Macleod Library opens in the Willow Park neighbourhood, and the new Bowness Library location opens.
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  • 1981: The new Alexander Calhoun Library building opens.
  • 1983: Properties Library closes, and Village Square Library opens.
  • 1985: Fish Creek Library opens.
  • 1986: Millican-Ogden Library (later named Glenmore Square) opens.
  • 1987: VHS videos are added to the collection.
  • 1988: Nose Hill Library opens, replacing Varsity Library.
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  • 1991: The Bookmobiles make their last run on February 28, 1991. Gerry Meek is appointed Director.
  • 1992: The self-serve catalogue is introduced.
  • 1996: Public computers and internet access are introduced at several branches.
  • 1998: Midnapore and Signal Hill libraries open.


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  • 2020: For the first time in history, all Calgary Public Library locations are closed to visitors to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Innovative contactless and virtual services are implemented to ensure continued public access to essential Library resources. Closures took place from March to June 2020, December 2020 to March 2021, and April to June 2021.
  • 2021: Sarah Meilleur is appointed the new CEO, becoming Calgary Public Library's very first female CEO.