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14 free things you can do at the Calgary Public Library – without even borrowing a book

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Who knew a little card could pack so much power?

The Calgary Public Library, that’s who.   And they want even more Calgarians to know.

This year, the Calgary Public Library celebrated 110-years in Calgary. Over that century-plus in the city, they’ve learned a lot about the needs of Calgarians. Those needs have evolved over time, too.

They’ll proudly tell you the library can be curated specifically to where any Calgarian is in their life and help them get where they want to go.

It starts with that first step: Getting a library card or renewing one you had.

Once you sign up for your free Calgary Public Library membership, it opens up more than just borrowing books.  There are more benefits than you might realize. The great news is these perks are free.

“At Calgary Public Library, we have something for everyone. But visiting your library and having an active membership is about more than just incredible free services and access to millions of resources – it’s also about seeing your city in a new way and creating connections within your community,” said Sarah Meilleur, CEO, Calgary Public Library.

“I encourage everyone to visit their local library because we exist to help you realize your potential and in turn, build a bright future for Calgary.”

Here are the 10 things we didn’t know you could do for free at the Calgary Public Library

We did a little bit of digging to find as many new things as we could that you can do – for free – with your Calgary Public Library card.  Even we were surprised (see number eight below)!

  • Need free printing? You get a $5 credit every month to make some copies. Black and white, or colour.
  • If you’ve been looking to boost your skills, check out the e-learning through Rosetta Stone or LinkedIn Learning.
  • Take free online music classes with Artistworks. Watch musical performances, films and documentaries in Qello Concerts.
  • Did you miss the newest copy of your favourite magazine? No worries, the library has likely got you covered. There are even digital copies of the niche-topic mags that might interest you.  
  • BOARD GAMES!  You can find a variety of different games at the library, from classics to newer games. (I mean, you could pair this up with number three below.)
  • Access community art displays (or, if you’re an artist, community group or organization, you can request an art exhibit space at one of the libraries).
  • Wellness Services. If you’re struggling with mental health or addictions, and you need to access health information, there’s a wellness desk at the Central, Crowfoot and Shawnessy libraries. There’s also a text service that can offer help.

Here are the four free things we DID know about!

1. Free wi-fi. Just access it and login with your library card number. Speaking from experience, we know it works pretty well, too.

2. Access to archives for periodicals. This has been especially helpful for us in looking back in Calgary’s history to help our work today.

3. Need a meeting room? They’ve got ‘em. You can book through your library card.  It’s perfect for studying, collaborating, or for startup ventures in Calgary’s growing tech community to hold meetings.

4. You can use their computers! Plus, many of the libraries have Chromebook lockers, so you can borrow a Chromebook to use while in the library.

(One final pro tip: If you haven’t used your Calgary Public Library card for at least three years, you’ll have to renew it. Those ones are purged from the system.)

So, get on it!

You’ll open the door to so much more than the joy of a good book.