Opinions & Features Workshop (Oct 26th)

Photo by Greg Connon

Calgary Public Library offering new content you can access at home

By Tanya Yeomans, October 6 2020—

If you’ve only used the library as a place to study and borrow books, you might be surprised at what the modern Calgary Public Library (CPL) offers.

The CPL provides programs and resources on numerous topics that appeal to many audiences. Even during the pandemic, they continue to offer valuable services to Calgarians through their Library at Home features.

Staff at the CPL have created content to share with Calgarians. On their website, they have a section for themed staff eBooks and audiobook recommendations, including topics such as Black Lives Matter, The Sound of Romance, and Makers Gonna Make. These suggestions can help guide you to that next great eBook which can be signed out from the library website.

Staff have also developed their own multimedia resources for youth. The Children’s Treaty 7 Land Acknowledgement teaches children how to do land acknowledgments, and activities like the Haunting of Fire Hall #3 are an interactive way for young people to learn about Calgary’s history.

The CPL has moved its live events online, including talks on history, career and health topics. These events may be led by library staff or by members of the community. Some of the programming is interactive, such as the ELL Conversation Circle and the Book Discussion Group, which can provide a venue to virtually meet and connect with others in the community during this pandemic.

In addition to resources created by the CPL, membership also provides access to a myriad of other online resources.

The CPL has several options to help develop new creative skills. If music is your jam, Artistsworks provides video lessons to learn instruments at your own pace. If you are more inspired by the visual arts, Creativebug has classes ranging from painting and sketching, to knitting and wood engraving. If the ink is dry on your own manuscript and you’re looking for the next step, consider checking out Pressbooks, a self-publishing tool to help you create your own eBooks.

The CPL also has subscriptions to many arts offerings, with free access to library members. A visit to Freegal Music allows you to download your favourite songs.  Naxos provides streaming music along with guided visual tours of music halls. Many of the National Film Board’s films, documentaries and virtual reality options are available through the NFB Campus.

Local history and genealogy are also featured through the CPL’s remote resources. Ancestry Library Edition and Heritage Quest Online can help you research people of the past, and Early Canadiana Online and the Calgary Herald Archives provide resources on local history.

For those searching for internships or a new career and could use some advice, Career Cruising is a resource that provides career direction and skills assessments. For help with crafting resumes and cover letters, as well as interview preparation, consider visiting the Job and Career Accelerator. For direct one-on-one help, you can also book appointments with career experts for a 20 minute chat.

Support for both children and adult learners is available through brainfuse. This includes live tutoring, writing improvement and other skill building options.

Gale and Lynda.com are two platforms that provide a host of diverse learning opportunities. These courses can teach you skills ranging from guitar lessons to building applications in HTML.  

For the bibliophiles, there are plenty of resources to explore. Read Alberta ebooks has over 1000 titles to offer, including the Prairie Indigenous eBook Collection. Indie Alberta has titles available for independent authors from around Alberta. LitFinder can help search for a variety of written material from around the world, and has audio options available.

If you are looking for a way to give back to the community from home, the library has remote volunteer opportunities, such as volunteer Tech Mentors. Through this remote role, volunteers can help other library patrons with basic computer and smartphone questions.  

If you are looking for physical library materials and are unable to visit due to health or mobility reasons, you can join the Homebound Readers Program, which allows you to sign out materials and have them delivered to you.  

A Calgary Public Library membership is free to Calgarians, making these remote programs accessible to people with a computer and an internet connection. There are many more programs available, and more information can be found on their website


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