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Calgary fire truck-turned play structure coming to Fish Creek Library

The Calgary Fire Department has been working with the Calgary Public Library to improve literacy and learning for the city's children for some time. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh The Calgary Fire Department has been working with the Calgary Public Library to improve literacy and learning for the city's children for some time. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
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It’s hoped a Calgary fire truck that was decommissioned and transformed into a play structure can be set up in the city's largest community library.

That's the goal of the Ladder Up on Literacy fundraiser, hosted by the Calgary Public Library Foundation.

"We know that 90 per cent of brain development occurs before the age of five, and that the library’s free and accessible spaces are a critical resource for families," said Calgary Public Library (CPL) CEO Sarah Meilleur in a release.

In 2016, the Calgary Fire Department's Engine 23 was converted into an early learning centre and installed in the former Central Library.

Two years later, it was put into storage, but the CPL says the plan is to install it inside the Fish Creek Library – Calgary'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," officials said. "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."

In order to make the strategy work, the CPL is looking to the community to raise $100,000 to build a new feature that will incorporate Engine 23 into the Fish Creek Library.

Chief Steve Dongworth says the return of the valuable resource is a continuation of the CFD's partnership with the CPL.

"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."

Meilleur says will the addition of Engine 23, libraries will have 14 donor-funded play and learning experiences across the city.

The CPL says there are 77,651 children under five years old in Calgary, meaning the city needs "significant investment in high quality early learning."

For more details about the project and a link to donate, you can go online.

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