Story Time with the Calgary Public Library @ CFN

Yesterday this writer had the privilege of sitting in during the Calgary Public Library weekly story time session here at CFNs Child Care centre. The wonderful program offered by the library included books, rhymes, and songs and is only one of the many community building services the Calgary Public Library offers our community. Watching the children taken away by words and reading reminded me of years passed.

Story Time @ CFN from CFN Productions on Vimeo.

Long before I fully understood what she said, my mother told me I loved to sit and listen to her read stories, as nothing was better than story time. As I got a little older, I naturally developed a love of books. That said, in the days before the internet, it was always a big event around the household whenever my mother took me down to the magical place of the one and only local library in my sleepy hometown out on the prairies in rural Alberta. By the time I was four years old, trips to the library became a regular part of life, and I so loved going there. I often spent what seemed like hours looking through all the wonderful books stacked in the towering shelves of hope that surrounded me.
Venturing off on my own, I ambled down the narrow aisles amidst a peaceful silence I could find nowhere else in my life and take in the world. Anything with pictures caught my eye in the beginning, and I reached the height of enjoyment while stretching out on the carpeted floor to look through books on animals, movies, and famous places. I always felt as though I was off on a grand adventure; as if I'd escaped the often unstable nature of my childhood. During a day at the library I always felt wrapped in an edifying cloak of silken freedom. I was disappointed whenever the call from my mother came announcing we had to leave. Nevertheless, I looked forward to taking some of the hidden treasure I discovered with me to enjoy.

After we arrived back at home, I most always went straight to my room and closed the door. Stretched out on my bed, I immediately jumped back into the world I brought back with me. The pages themselves seemed even more magical when I viewed them within the confines of my room. It was as though I managed to smuggle in another plain of existence, and the hope and freedom that came with it. My mother often told me when I would later emerge from my room I loved recounting my newfound knowledge to anyone who listened. Despite the digital age in which we live, the library continues to provide this kind of magic and so much more. Further still, both what a library offers and represents may be more important now than ever before

Many people seem to believe that the digital age is about to render libraries and all of those hard copy books on the bookshelves useless.  Although you can find almost anything on the internet,  the key words here are "almost" and "anything." You simply cannot get all you can from a library on the internet and the fact you can stumble across anything in an online world filled with untruths, fake news, trolls and intolerance - in today's world libraries have become no less than essential.
Calgary's New Central Library is set to open November 18th 2018

Libraries connect their communities in a way that benefits everyone. They pool local resources and put them all under one welcoming roof for everyone to share. Libraries play an essential role in providing safe, accessible, and 100% free educational resource centres for every member in communities across the country. At a library, it doesn't matter how much money you make, because every resource there is free of charge, including books, internet access, and educational and professional training programs. Individuals and families, no matter their socioeconomic status, can count on their libraries to provide them with the resources they need to succeed and the answers to important questions they can't otherwise find.

By extension libraries provide a crucial service for the most vulnerable segments of our population. Not only do they offer a safe and free refuge for those who need shelter, but they offer support to those in need. Each morning when public libraries open their doors, they become shelters, along with learning and employment centres for many of Calgary's most vulnerable.

In terms of newcomers to Calgary, libraries play a key role in their development as people from all over the world come to the Canada looking new opportunities. Before they can find success, they need to find a place to learn a new language. Libraries provide English language learners with the opportunity to immerse themselves in their new language, whether it be through periodicals, books, audiobooks, or resources online. Many libraries also offer multilingual books for adults and children that are designed to help new English learners master the language in a fun and engaging way. Increasingly, libraries are also expanding their collection of non-English books to help create a more inclusive environment for every kind of reader, no matter where they are from.

Last but certainly not least are the librarians. Library information science graduates are uniquely positioned to focus on the experience of their library’s users. They understand their information needs and help them navigate complex systems, whether the medium is physical books, an archive, a database or the internet. More than anything else, they provide human contact and interaction, a welcoming face to all those in our communities.

Bottom line - libraries are more more important than ever. Thanks to the Calgary Public Library for joining us regularly here at CFN and for all the incredible work you do for the greater Calgary Community and we ant wait for the new downtown location to open its doors next year!