Monday, 7 November 2011

Finding your special place in your new city

A friend emailed me one day saying she had just spent the morning in "her favourite place on earth." The joy of that sentiment caught my attention and I started thinking about my favourite place(s) on earth. Some obvious geographical ones sprang to mind, many involving water as I grew up on the coast. That was obviously not going to bring me regular bliss living in Calgary. But then I dug a bit deeper and tried on places in a more general sense- where do I go that brings me that sense of cosiness, of belonging and sheer delight to be in that space?

For me the common factor is any place that houses books and welcomes people who love books- local book stores and libraries. I am thrilled with the Calgary Public Library which is so much more than a place that stores books. The programming here is varied and I have only just begun to explore its depths. Even the volunteer opportunities are fascinating and diverse. Yesterday I spent a few hours on the opposite side of the city at a library branch, which felt immediately like "my" branch, listening to two writers talk about how to read like a writer- all part of the One Book, One Calgary program.

The MC for the event mentioned that the Calgary Public Library has had a writer in residence program for over 20 years. More free events that I can access. It truly has me going yippee inside. Speaking of free, I was a bit taken aback when I first went to the library and learned there was a fee for a library card- but it is a small fee for such a wealth of experiences and a sense of connection to a like minded community.

The library may not be your thing- but I challenge you to look at your life- whether you are starting out in a new city after relocating, or finding yourself feeling that you could be experiencing more joy and connectedness in your existing community. What gives you that special feeling-how can you find the essence of it no matter where you are geographically.

I am out the door to volunteer at school- helping kids read. Yes, I see the theme.


  1. I love the library and have somehow forgotten about all the great programs they have. Must check out the schedule, maybe I'll see you at one of the events!

  2. Love it! This is my favourite post yet :)

  3. Thanks R- as you know you inspired me to dig deeper :-)

  4. Glad to see you've found the library. They are great places and as you've found out, so much more than just a place to get books from. Librarians are under-appreciated and underpaid considering how much education they have and now councils, schools, hospitals, etc all seem to think that they aren't important anymore.

  5. I hear your comment on the lack of libraries especially in schools. In our old school it was all volunteers who kept it going, due to budget cutbacks. I love volunteering in my childrens' school libraries as I discover some great treasures by watching what the kids check out.