Fundraising Campaign Hopes to Place Firetruck Inside Calgary Library

On March 22, 2023, the Calgary Public Library Foundation launched Ladder Up on Literacy, a new fundraising campaign that aims to relocate Engine 23 — the decommissioned fire truck turned Early Learning Centre that has been in storage since 2018 — to Fish Creek Library.

“Engine 23 became a magical space for learning and imagination that made the former Central Library a destination for families across the city,” says Tracy Johnson, CEO of the Calgary Public Library Foundation. “We can’t wait to provide another free and accessible space that supports children, but we need your help to make it happen. We’re asking Calgarians to provide a Ladder Up on Literacy and help raise $100,000 to move Engine 23 to Fish Creek Library this year.” For more information or to donate, visit

In 2016, as part of its Early Learning Strategy, the Library converted a decommissioned fire truck into an educational play structure. The installation transformed the vibrancy of the main floor in the former Central Library and made it a destination for families across the city.

“We know that 90% of brain development occurs before the age of five, and that the Library’s free and accessible spaces are a critical resource for families,” notes Calgary Public Library CEO, Sarah Meilleur. “With the addition of Engine 23 at Fish Creek Library, we will now have 14 donor-funded play and learning experiences across the city designed to nurture a child’s development at any stage.”

Opened in 1985, Fish Creek Library is our city’s largest community library. The southeast location serves almost 90,000 Calgarians, especially young families and caregivers who visit the vibrant Questionarium and Early Learning Centre. The addition of Engine 23 will make it the largest children’s library in a community library and transform it into a must-visit destination.

“As the Calgary Public Library Foundation embarks on this new fundraising campaign to relocate Engine 23 to Fish Creek Library, we at the Calgary Fire Department are thrilled to continue our partnership with the Library,” added Chief Steve Dongworth. “In its new home, Engine 23 will serve as an important resource in supporting fire safety education and teaching children about the role of firefighters in their community.”

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