Library Named for Pioneering Calgarian Judith Umbach

April 26, 2015

Calgary, AB — Judith Umbach is an unassuming Calgarian who has done a truly extraordinary thing.

By making a seven-figure gift in her will to the Calgary Public Library Foundation, Umbach is paving the way for other Calgarians to give to the Library in a meaningful way.

“It’s difficult for many of us who may not have cash on hand to say, ‘I’m giving something right now,’” said Umbach. “For many people this makes it possible to leave a legacy now.”

“We call Judith a best friend of the Library,” said Paul McIntyre Royston, President & CEO, Calgary Public Library Foundation. “Calgary and the Library are part of her DNA – she grew up in Calgary, spending her free time at the Library. As an adult, Judith has taken up the Foundation’s bold, audacious vision to transform Calgary Public Library into the best library in the world for Calgarians.”

Umbach chaired the Calgary Public Library Board for 8 years of her 12-year tenure and now sits on the Board of Directors of the Calgary Library Foundation and chairs its Council of Champions. She was honoured today with the Library’s announcement of the renaming of the Thorn-Hill Library to the Judith Umbach Library.

The naming announcement was part of a grand re-opening celebration. Patrons from throughout the community, along with Mayor Naheed Nenshi, were on hand to witness the official ribbon cutting and tour the completely renovated library.

Highlights of the renovation include: a lighter, more open interior; a colourful and inviting children's area, as well as a themed collection and display; shelving complete with dedicated lighting and new easier-to-navigate end panels; and, a new laptop loan program that will, at first augment and then replace, the fixed work stations – allowing patrons to be truly connected and comfortable during their visit.

As patrons enter the Judith Umbach Library, they are welcomed by a distinctive wall that honours Judith, her gift, her Calgary-focused photography, and, of course, her favourite book, Jane Eyre.

The 7,697-square-foot Judith Umbach Library is located in a multi-service building along a major transportation route and serves the 80,000+ Calgarians living in the communities of Beddington, Huntington Hills, and Thornhill.

Judith Umbach is a Founding Partner for Add In, the Campaign for Calgary’s Library, a bold, audacious vision to take a great library system and transform it into the best in the world for Calgarians. The city-wide campaign will build capacity for each and every community library and will include projects with a strong impact for Library customers. For more information, visit

The Calgary Public Library Foundation was created in 1999 to provide an opportunity for all Calgarians to participate in building a library system for today and future generations. Its vision is to enable the citizens of Calgary to have the best public library in the world.


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