How are chapters of a city’s life marked? By growth in population? Through international recognition? Years of existence? We believe the indicators of a city’s growth are measured by the collective experiences of the people who live there, and we were so pleased to be a part of one of those collective experiences this past week with the opening of your new Calgary Central Library, and the beginning of a new chapter in Calgary’s history. Boom had all hands-on deck November 1, 3 and 4, 2018, to oversee the success of the Central Library Public Grand Opening and weekend programming for all to enjoy.
The New Central Library was built not on the east or the west side of the train tracks, but rather directly above to signify the inclusivity of the building, thus gaining the name “The People’s Library.” On Thursday morning, guests of all ages waited in line by the hundreds for the doors to swing open for the opening ceremony. While they waited, masked jugglers, whimsical fairies, and a Pokémon or two entertained, and volunteers handed out cups of hot chocolate from Luke’s Drug Mart, which were adorned with scannable smartphone codes so guests could sign up for their free library cards while they enjoyed their treat.
Finally, the doors opened to reveal the splendour of the highly-anticipated interior architecture, and a drum beat from a traditional indigenous drumming and dance group led guests into the foyer. Mayor Naheed Nenshi welcomed the crowd and spoke earnestly about Calgary being a place where people can dream and dream big, a place that attracts the best and the brightest from all over the world. He described education as the great equalizer, and noted the Central Library as being the place where all people, young and old, newcomers and lifelong Calgarians, could come to learn. As a symbol of the new Central Library’s focus on community, the first library cards for this new building were presented to five Calgarians who represented the diversity of our city: a student, a business owner, a new Canadian, the oldest active library member, and the youngest new library member. After a blessing from Elder Kelly, the library’s CEO, Bill Ptacek, welcomed everyone to their new Central Library, and applauded along with the crowd as giant rainbow confetti cannons were released, showering guests in colourful streamers.
Guests were greeted with a wealth of activities on every floor; from do-it-yourself button making to a Pied Piper story time, or live opera performances by Cowtown Opera to one-of-a-kind created poems crafted on-demand by local poets, there was something for everyone. As a fantastic finish to the opening day, Boom was also honoured to produce the first performance ever held in the Central Library’s rentable performance hall space; Col. Chris Hadfield, First Canadian Commander of the International Space Station- and musical enthusiast- played his guitar and spoke to a crowd of over 300 people about his remarkable life. Fitting, for a remarkable space.
The team took a much-deserved break on Friday and were back on-site Saturday and Sunday, with more guest programming and a festival of food trucks for the 30,000+ weekend attendees.
Needless to say, the Boom team was more than thrilled to be a part of the Calgary Central Library Grand Opening and to help turn the page on a new collective chapter for the City of Calgary.
*Photo credit: Mike Hopkins