Glenbow Western Research Centre. Photo by Dave Brown.
Plan your visit
If you’re planning on visiting the Glenbow Western Research Centre at the University of Calgary, here’s some helpful things to know.
The Glenbow Western Research Centre is located on the second floor of the Taylor Family Digital Family (TFDL) at UCalgary’s main campus. It is free to visit and open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The TFDL’s central location on campus means it’s accessible from all quadrants of the city by CTrain, bus or car.
Search and request materials
Researchers must request their materials in advance as the bulk of the Glenbow Library and Archives is stored offsite. Requests made before 3 p.m. will usually be available at the Glenbow Western Research Centre the following weekday by 11 a.m.
But before you can place an order, you have to find the materials you want to consult. The Glenbow Library and Archives website is a good place to start. Books, journals and archives, along with materials from the larger UCalgary collection, can be searched there. Digitized photographs and documents are available in the Glenbow Digital Collection.
You can also use the library’s main search tool at https://library.ucalgary.ca.
If you already have a Glenbow Community Card or a UCalgary account, you can request resources as you find them in the online catalogue. Calgary and Alberta residents can sign up for the Glenbow Users Community Card for free. This card allows the public to place holds on Glenbow library books so they can be brought to the research centre in advance of a visit. It also allows users to borrow books from the UCalgary library.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 403-210-6450 to request books and archival material.
Some of the resources from Glenbow’s reference collection are available at the research centre itself, such as the finding aids (UCalgary Archives and Special Collections finding aids are also in the centre). Other reference materials at the centre include Volumes 1–6 of Gail Morin’s Metis Families: a genealogical compendium and Henderson’s Directories for both Calgary (1909–1979) and Edmonton (1910–1987). The reference photographs that were once kept in albums and cases in the Glenbow’s reading room are now accessible online in the digital collection.
Make yourself comfortable
The research centre features space for 32 researchers at eight tables. The height of two of the tables are adjustable, making them ideal for studying large maps and plans. Each table also includes desk lamps, USB charging ports and power plugs. Four high-speed computers are available for accessing high-resolution photographs or for streaming video and audio. A microfilm reader and printer is available, as well.
The centre also features a large holds room (researchers can request 10 or more boxes at a time), two private consultation rooms where researchers can meet with archivists and a larger meeting room set up for video conferencing and presentations. All three rooms are soundproofed and provide plugins and data ports for computers.
“Archives can be challenging for people to encounter,” says Annie Murray, head of Archives and Special Collections at UCalgary. “Sometimes people want to have a conversation where they want some privacy. These are designed for conversation or a bit of privacy, and the staff can still see in and ensure the safety of the collections. But sometimes you need to talk with your prof, with your colleague or talk with an archivist, so we needed to have that freedom in this room.”
Display cases throughout the room exhibit archival materials from both the Glenbow and the UCalgary collections. The current exhibit features artists’ books. The next exhibit will feature historical photographs from the Glenbow archives. A large monitor provides educational and promotional information in the centre. The monitor is also used to enhance the exhibitions.
Ask for help
Staff are on hand for questions, assistance and consultations. UCalgary’s archivists are available to assist over the phone, via email, through one-on-one consultations or at the GWRC. A dedicated Glenbow Library and Archive reference specialist, Kim Geraldi, is also available for reference questions. Teaching support is available for instructors looking to use archival materials in their courses.
Other available services offered at the Glenbow Western Research Centre include photocopying and digitization. Researchers are welcome to use a digital camera or smartphone to take photographs (no flashes please!).
The research centre does not allow food or drinks. If you’re hungry or need a coffee, the Good Earth Café is located on the main floor of the TFDL. MacEwan Hall, a short walk from the TFDL, features a food court and a couple of restaurants.
So grab your tools—whether they be a pad and pencil or laptop and camera—and get researching!
For any questions or to order items for use in the reading room call 403-210-6450, email email@example.com, or consult the FAQs. Groups can also arrange tours of the Glenbow Western Research Centre.