One Year Later

20,000 Books Under the Bow

On Saturday, July 27 2013, the Library Foundation held a city-wide book drive,“20,000 Books Under the Bow,” which provided a unique opportunity for Calgarians to support their Library after the devastating flood on June 20—the worst in Alberta’s history. Channeling Jules Verne’s classical novel, “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,” the Library Foundation sent out a rallying cry for Calgarians to help their Library. Calgarians responded en masse, resulting in over 270,000 books, DVDs and CDs donated on a single day. Our partners, BetterWorld Books, informed us that the materials collected weighed in at more than 200,000 lbs—heavy lifting from our volunteers!

Download the 2013-2014 Flood Report

Visit the Library's Floodstory website

Celebrate the resiliency of the community throughout Calgary’s flood history and add your flood experience story to the Library’s digital archives., which was created with the support of generous Calgarians through the Flood Recovery Fund, captures the stories and resiliency of the community through over a century of flood history.

News from the Event

"Campaign launched to restock library collection" CTV News, July 17, 2013

"Helping the Calgary library recover from the flood: 20,000 books under the Bow" CBC News, July 25, 2013

"Calgary Public Library calls for donation of 20,000 books, DVDs, CDs" Metro News, July 22, 2013

"Books Under the Bow" CBC News Calgary, July 28, 2013

Limited Edition T-Shirt

We sold almost 1,000 "20,000 Books Under The Bow" T-Shirts. Thank you for your support!

20,000 Books Under the Bow


Are you still accepting books?

Book, CD and DVD donations can be taken to the Library Foundation at the Memorial Park Library (2nd Floor, 1221 2nd St. SW) 12-5 p.m. Monday to Friday, excluding holidays.

You may also drop off up to 10 donated items at any Calgary Public Library branch. The Library is happy to accept the following items in excellent condition:

  • classic titles, older best sellers and popular fiction of enduring interest
  • local materials about Calgary and Southern Alberta
  • books that have been published or purchased within the past five years
  • popular, current paperbacks
  • CDs and DVDs

We cannot accept magazines, VHS videos and encyclopedias as they are not sellable materials.

Can I get a tax receipt ?

Unfortunately, Revenue Canada requires extensive documentation for materials donated in-kind. This is not feasible for books, DVDs or CDs.

What will happen with the books?

The Library Foundation works with BetterWorld Books to provide an avenue for selling donated materials. BetterWorld has partnered with more than 2,000 libraries in North America to list books online in marketplaces like Amazon. Betterworld Books picks up all the books from libraries and ensures they find new homes.

Why aren't you holding a book sale?

While we used to hold large book sales, we found that they required many staff and volunteer hours, there was a lack of ability for in-depth browsing, many books were sold in bulk and net proceeds were often quite low. By moving the operation online, it enables the book purchaser to hunt for the material they want and purchase it at market price; used books can sell for over $10. The Library Foundation could list all the books online, but the time and research on pricing is prohibitive.

BetterWorld books manages all shipping of the books to their automated processing and listing facility. Through retailers like Amazon, books are listed online and are shipped by BetterWorld to their ultimate destination. We recieve 25% of the total sale, and the rest of the funds cover the listing fee for the seller and are retained by BetterWorld to cover their costs and retain a small profit. By using BetterWorld, we are able to maximize revenue and raise money for new collections that Calgarians want and need.

Can Library customers purchase the books donated?

Not directly. The books are for sale on online marketplaces.