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Engine 23 is moving to Fish Creek Library

Sound the alarm! Fundraising campaign seeks to put firetruck inside Fish Creek Library.

On March 22, 2023, the Calgary Public Library Foundation launched Ladder Up on Literacy, a new fundraising campaign that aims to relocate Engine 23 — the decommissioned fire truck turned Early Learning Centre that has been in storage since 2018 — to Fish Creek Library.

“Engine 23 became a magical space for learning and imagination that made the former Central Library a destination for families across the city,” says Tracy Johnson, CEO of the Calgary Public Library Foundation. “We can’t wait to provide another free and accessible space that supports children, but we need your help to make it happen. We’re asking Calgarians to provide a Ladder Up on Literacy and help raise $100,000 to move Engine 23 to Fish Creek Library this year.” For more information or to donate, visit engine23.ca

In 2016, as part of its Early Learning Strategy, the Library converted a decommissioned fire truck into an educational play structure. The installation transformed the vibrancy of the main floor in the former Central Library and made it a destination for families across the city.

“We know that 90% of brain development occurs before the age of five, and that the Library’s free and accessible spaces are a critical resource for families,” notes Calgary Public Library CEO, Sarah Meilleur. “With the addition of Engine 23 at Fish Creek Library, we will now have 14 donor-funded play and learning experiences across the city designed to nurture a child’s development at any stage.”

Opened in 1985, Fish Creek Library is our city’s largest community library. The southeast location serves almost 90,000 Calgarians, especially young families and caregivers who visit the vibrant Questionarium and Early Learning Centre. The addition of Engine 23 will make it the largest children’s library in a community library and transform it into a must-visit destination.

“As the Calgary Public Library Foundation embarks on this new fundraising campaign to relocate Engine 23 to Fish Creek Library, we at the Calgary Fire Department are thrilled to continue our partnership with the Library,” added Chief Steve Dongworth. “In its new home, Engine 23 will serve as an important resource in supporting fire safety education and teaching children about the role of firefighters in their community.”

Facts and Figures

  • The Library Foundation is asking the community to help raise $100,000 to build the city’s largest Early Learning Centre in a community library, serving children and families for free.
  • Funds raised will directly support building a new feature activation that inspires play and learning through literacy and safety programs, run from the Engine 23 space at Fish Creek Library for children ages 0-12.
  • Healthy development in early childhood sets the course for a child’s future, yet 1 in 4 Canadian children are behind in social competence, emotional maturity, cognitive development and/or communication skills before Grade One.
  • 90% of brain development happens before the age of five. Free and accessible programming offered by Calgary Public Library is critical to equitable early childhood development and future success in school and everyday life.
  • With 77,651 children aged 0-4 in Calgary, the demographics of our city demand a significant investment in high quality early learning.
  • In 2022 the Calgary Public Library saw an unprecedented demand for services:
    • 750,000+ members – 57% of Calgarians are active Library members. 150,500 Library card holders are under the age of 18.
    • 4.9M+ visits to 21 Library locations across Calgary
    • 16.3M items checked out

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