Early Learning at the Library

Early learning is a longstanding and key priority at Calgary Public Library. When Memorial Park Library–Alberta’s first public library–opened in 1912, library services for children were an important part of its offerings.


Over the years, the Library has built on this foundation and its approach has evolved with new knowledge of children’s brain development. Visit a Calgary Public Library location today and you’ll find children learning through play in a 22-tonne red fire engine or interactive children’s area, in addition to accessing a rich variety of collections, and participating in engaging programs.


With more than 89,000 kids under the age of five in Calgary, the demographics of our city demand a significant investment in high quality early learning. A smart, literate community is essential to sustaining our city’s economic prosperity.


Through its network of 21 community libraries and various outreach initiatives and partnerships, the Library has extensive reach. Every day, it interacts with thousands of children, parents, and caregivers, including at-risk and vulnerable populations, and newcomers to Canada.


Moreover, it continues to support people as they grow; libraries are one of the only civic services that engage with people throughout their lives. As a centre for lifelong learning, the Library is committed to creating opportunities for growth and development for everyone, beginning in a child’s early years.


Through the Calgary Public Library Foundation, the Library is actively seeking $20 million of philanthropic investment in early learning as part of Add In—the Campaign for Calgary’s Library.

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Early Learning Strategy


In September 2017, the Calgary Public Library released a strategy outlining a comprehensive and transformative model for early childhood learning based on five areas of focus: spaces, people, collections, programs, and research.


Guided by existing research and collaboration with various academic and community partners, the strategy aims to support local families and prepare children for lifelong learning and success.


Underlying these goals is a commitment to constant progress and evolution. While libraries are often perceived as staid institutions, Calgary Public Library is dedicated to embracing experimentation and change, so it can grow and become better, and, ultimately, make a profound difference in all communities.