I have found that when I move from one place to another I often compare the two. I have also found that not every place is perfect. Where one town, city or country excels in one thing, it may fail in another.
I have to sometimes remind myself that with every negative there is a positive.
One big, in fact, humongous, positive I’ve discovered since moving back to Calgary is its public library service (calgarylibrary.ca). It can only be described as exceptional. For any reader and writer this is great news. The best news.
Most communities within the city have a library nearby (but there can always be more). The services it offers are vast: from playgroups for babies and toddlers; to fun science, robotics and coding classes for children; to assistance for new immigrants; to reading groups; to classes about Canadian history, getting published in the Canadian market, computer skills, financial assistance, business networking and advice …
Honestly, the list goes on and on.
Did I mention it’s all free?
It even has an author in residence who acts as a mentor for writers in the community. This year’s author is award-winning poet and editor Micheline Maylor. She holds the position until December 9.
November is National Novel Writing Month (more commonly known as NaNoWriMo – visit nanowrimo.org for more information). Calgary NaNoWriMo members will be on-hand to provide inspiration and support with their Write-In Workshops at the Calgary Central Library, helping put an end to writer’s block (Saturday, Nov. 5 and 12, 10am to 4.30pm). You can register to attend here.
There are also ongoing reading events for children and teens.
Homework Club for New Canadians is aimed at helping new arrivals work on their English and get better grades at school. Times and locations vary. More information about Homework Club can be found here.
Reading Buddies is for young readers (ages 5-9) to get one-to-one reading support from teen volunteers and library staff. There are also fun literacy activities. Times and locations vary. More information about Reading Buddies can be found here.
Tween Book Club provides an opportunity for children and young teens (ages 10-14) to explore great novels by meeting up for a lively discussion. Contact the library for information about the novel being discussed. Alexander Calhoun Library, Saturday, Nov. 19 and Dec. 17 2.30pm to 3.30pm.
You will need to book ahead to attend these sessions and it’s worth keeping an eye on events throughout the year as they’re always changing.
Finding a gem like the Calgary Public Library, something my family and I didn’t have before, makes us appreciate it all the more. It has become our go-to place when we have nothing else planned and want to get out of the house. With a new Central Library due to open sometime in 2018 (www.calgarymlc.ca/new-central-library), it’s an excellent resource for the community that I hope will continue to grow. Calgarians should be proud of it.