With a photo of the front entrance and the bold headline “A National Treasure” on the front page of its January 19, 2018 edition, the Calgary Herald announced that Memorial Park Library has been designated a national historic site.
Although the article on page A2 doesn’t mention the Calgary Women’s Literary Club by name, it does explain that the library “was built thanks to the efforts of a group of local women, including one of Calgary’s cultural pioneers, Annie Davidson.” Memorial Park Library served as the city’s main library from 1912, when it opened, until 1963.
Although it may not be published, I did write the following e-mail to the newspaper:
Congratulations to all concerned for this important cultural and historic designation. Your readers might be interested to learn that Annie Davidson and a small group of ladies formed the Calgary Women’s Literary Club in 1906. Their supply of books was limited to only their personal collections, so they started the process of establishing the first Public Library in Calgary. Two petitions later and with the help of their husbands (women didn’t have much clout in those days), Annie and her friends acquired a grant from Andrew Carnegie and so the Memorial Park Library was eventually built. The Calgary Women’s Literary Club is still going strong and will celebrate its 112th anniversary on February 6. I’m proud to say that we still meet in the lower level of this beautiful old building.
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Margaret Sparkes, President