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Last Modified: March 29, 2021
A photo of the entrance way to Calgary Central Library by Calgary photographer Jeff Whyte
Overview of Alberta’s Public Libraries

Alberta’s world-class library systems work to provide residents with equitable access to information, continuing education, and community resources, not to mention books, magazines, music, movies, and more.

Alberta has seven distinct regional library systems, in addition to the Edmonton and Calgary library systems. This structure allows local libraries in rural communities to serve the unique needs of their communities, while making sure their members can access innovative, province-wide resources. Members at even the smallest Alberta library have access to up to thirty million resources through programs like The Alberta Library (TAL) Online, ME Libraries, and the TRAC database. They have access to Alberta-published books through the Read Alberta eBooks project; and to Indigenous titles through the Prairie Indigenous eBook Collection—the first of its kind in Canada. And they have access to physical library spaces as well, whether they are making use of a computer station or attending a children’s storytime at a welcoming local library, or returning books via bookscalator at the state-of-the-art Central Library in Calgary.

And all of this in addition to libraries’ impact on literacy throughout our province, through programs like summer reading clubs, book club kits, and author readings; and through the frontline interactions librarians in schools, public libraries, and academic institutions have with readers every day. With everything they are doing to serve important needs in their communities, it is no wonder that library branches help generate foot traffic to their areas. Plus, according to BookNet Canada, Canadians who both buy and borrow books purchase more books than buyers who don’t use the library at all. Further proof that our libraries not only benefit the public good, but the entire book industry in our province.