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Calgary's New Central Library counting down the sleeps until 2018 opening

The downtown library will be ready for Calgary readers in 359 days

Calgary Library Board Chair Janet Hutchinson and Coun. Druh Farrell mark the page in preparation for the New Central Library.

Helen Pike / Metro Order this photo

Calgary Library Board Chair Janet Hutchinson and Coun. Druh Farrell mark the page in preparation for the New Central Library.

Like a good book in the perfectly engineered reading nook, the New Central Library construction is quickly approaching its final chapter – and like Coun. Druh Farrell said it's a page-turner.

Luckily, in this series, the new facility will open its doors to citizens young and old on November 1, 2018, and on Tuesday city officials and library lovers celebrated the final stretch of construction – one more year – until the grand reveal.

In a speech, the mayor said at 6.7 million visits last year the library's network has had more users than all of the city's sports and culture events combined.

"The library is an important piece of civic infrastructure because it's free and open to everyone," said Nenshi. "There's no profit being made here, it's open to every single member of our community regardless of their age or background."

During the election, some took to social media in the heat of an arena debate to criticize the city for investing in the library.

"Investing in a for-profit business is a very different discussion, so I always wondered why people would ever equate those things," said Nenshi.

Janet Hutchinson, board chair, said if you think about it, Calgary's Libraries have seen more than 19,000 visiting their branches every day and over a year they see the city's population, four times over, using their services.

"That just reinforces how much, and what the library means to the citizens of Calgary," Hutchinson said. "The re-imagining for the New Central Library, people are just blown away by it."

The project is on time and on budget as it approaches the homestretch, a tall feat according to Nenshi who talked about the complexities of such a large project – one that was built around a working LRT line.

"This site has always been a barrier to East Village but it also symbolizes an investment in our library system," said Farrell. "It's going to be breathtakingly beautiful but it's also going to work."

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