To say our family loves libraries would be an understatement. Having programing end and branches close this past spring was hard to deal with for my library loving kids.
We love checking out different locations and get excited when we hear a new branch is being built. But to hear the largest branch in Edmonton was getting a complete overhaul, well, that took things to a whole new level!
I received an email in August confirming opening day, and I snatched up entry passes as quick as I could! The anticipation was building and we could hardly contain it!
Waking in the doors, you’re greeted with so much space and light! The atrium is lovely and it’s a wow moment when you see the huge digital touch screen for the first time. The screen is interactive and full of so much information. The dinosaur application was playing while we were there, but I think the coral reef application and others will be very cool too! On the back side of the large screen is a smaller, but still impressive screen playing a carnival application.
The Shelley Milner Children’s Library and Al & Fran Olson Children’s Makerspace are located on level 1. During our tour of the makerspace, the kids checked out little robots that travel on a map of Edmonton, explored a musical area and played different sounds and beats, learned about the 3D printer and posed in scenes in front of a green screen. Individual families will be able to book this space soon.
The expanded Children’s Library has a lot to explore. There are great sensory features that my youngest loved, especially the fake grass area and cozy seating.
We only explored the second and third floors briefly as we spent lots of time in the Children’s Library and I was already loaded down with books to borrow, but the full sized Makerspace (over 10000 square feet!), the Gamerspace, and the views walking up the ramp to the higher levels were all so impressive!
There are many more features to take in. Thunderbird House is a dedicated Indigenous space to be used for ceremony and gatherings. EPL Kitchen is coming soon. I can see us spending lots of time here in the coming months, finding a cozy spot to curl up with a book or getting hands on with new activities. A Second Cup in the atrium area will be coming soon. Nothing better than a hot tea and a book on a cold winter afternoon!
Paid parking is available in the parade below the library or we used $2/hour, 2 hour max. street parking a few blocks over. There is also access from Churchill Station LRT.
You can find virtual tours and more information on the digital screens and expanded spaces at the Stanley A. Milner Library on the EPL Website.