The Centennial Book

Telling our story for 100 years.

Who better to write EPL's story than acclaimed local author and lover of all things Edmonton, Todd Babiak?

The book titled Just Getting Started: Edmonton Public Library's First 100 Years, 1913-2013 is availble in print and eBook copies.

Check out a print copy or download a FREE eBook copy today! 

With the eBook, there are no holds, no waiting period and no expiry date! It is yours to keep forever and share with friends! A birthday gift from EPL to you.

Download a free copy today!

eBook Edition

Get your free eBook edition of Just Getting Started (available in three formats).*

Download a copy now:

1. ePub format (26 MB)

  • Ideal for reading on PC, Mac, or with eReaders using Adobe Digital editions.
  • Sony eReader owners will want to use with Sony Reader for PC/Mac.
  • Great on Android or iOS smartphones and tablets using Overdrive Media Console app or Bluefire Reader app.

2. PDF format (28 MB)

  • Works on most computers with Adobe Reader or Adobe Digital editions.
  • Works with iBooks on iOS, Adobe PDF Reader app on Android.
  • Not ideal for resizing text.

3. MOBI format (59 MB)

  • Works on most Kindles and some Blackberry devices.
  • May work inside Amazon Kindle app on iOS or Android.

*These are large size files that will take a number of minutes to download. Instructions for downloading open ePubs and open PDFs. Connection via wifi, rather than your cellular data plan is recommended.

Print Edition

Place a hold now.

Take a peek at this fascinating book now!

Just Getting Started: Edmonton Public Library's First 100 Years, 1913-2013 is rich with anecdotes and historical photos, records of personal conversations, and tales of expeditions to branch libraries.

The book reads like a novel and it provides a glimpse of how vital the library has been to the city of Edmonton in the last 100 years. In Todd Babiak's words, "this book is pop-history!". Click on the links below to see it for yourself.

Chapter 12 The Violinist with a Broom

A classic fairy tale, a true story of a local janitor turned music director. An amazing story of how your talents will always shine no matter the circumstances.


 Chapter 20 Sex

In the early 1950s, contemporary books meant sex was more likely than ever to be on shelves. The story of R-rated books and the courage it took to ask for them.

In the news...

Global News

Metro News

Edmonton Journal

Edmonton This Week

Breakfast Television

Book Launch Event

On October 22, 2013, the Edmonton Public Library, partnering with the University of Alberta Press and LitFest, launched Just Getting Started: Edmonton Public Library's First 100 Years, 1913-2013, written by award-winning local author Todd Babiak. The event was held at the Stanley A. Milner Library Theater. Over 150 people joined the celebration.

Check out some photos here.

Book reviews

Lawrence Herzog, heritage writer, photographer, and broadcaster. 

"A fabulously researched, well-told narration of the birth, growth and coming-of-age of Edmonton’s magnificent public library system. Just Getting Started is a cherished contribution to the Edmonton story that ranks as one of the finest. Just like the library itself, Todd Babiak has made us want to read, learn and be inspired by the past and the possibilities for the next 100 years."

Marty Chan, playwright, radio writer, television story editor, and young adult author.

"Todd Babiak combines his journalist's nose for a good story and his novelist's skill in crafting a dramatic yarn to create a vibrant narrative of the evolution of the Edmonton Public Library. To describe Just Getting Started as a history of the city's library would be an understatement. It is a superbly crafted account of the enduring DIY spirit that has shaped the library and the city of Edmonton. From the board's contentious decision to turn down Andrew Carnegie's offer to partially fund the first library to the hilarious story of monkey that escaped in the Stanley Milner Library Theatre, every chapter captures a sense of the library in its various states of development, and offers a snapshot of Edmonton over the decades. This isn't just a story of the city's library. It is a story of Edmonton." 

Shirley Lowe, Historian Laureate.

"It is appropriate that an entity that gives us access to millions of stories should have a good story of its own. Todd Babiak, an engaged and engaging story teller, has done his research for Just Getting Started. He brings energy to the voices and memories of people for whom the library was a mission, as well as those of us who discovered new worlds, ideas and great sources of entertainment. It is a personal story for many.  Babiak talks about the creative and innovative programs but does not shy away from the politics and drama that surrounded the incorporation and growth of our library. The story  of the library is integral to the story of Edmonton and the two are interwoven throughout this book. I learned a lot and loved it."

Tony Cashman, writer, playwright and historian.

"Todd Babiak brings to life 100 storied years, beginning with the proud young Edmonton telling Andrew Carnegie that if he didn’t like our vision of the library our city deserves, he could keep his money and we would go our way. Todd Babiak’s style serves history well."

Holly Doan, Blacklock’s reporter, ‎journalist, documentary producer, online publisher.

“Alberta novelist Todd Babiak documents the library as a focus of city life in Just Getting Started. It is a centenary profile of the Edmonton public system…Babiak is a gifted writer and his stories are compelling…”

Monique Sherrett from, a Canadian book blog: publishing, marketing, books and technology from a Canadian perspective.

"I don’t have any connection to Edmonton personally but I do love Babiak’s writing and he’s brought the EPL’s story to life through a series of stand-alone, yet interlinked chapters. The archival photos are wonderful and the story of the Library is really the story of a city.... [Just Getting Started is] filled with really interesting stories of the people of Edmonton and how the Library played a central role in the politics and development of the city. Todd Babiak is the perfect author for this book because he’s a great writer...."

Jason Lee Norman, author

“Babiak is the perfect tour guide for a book like this. Sure, you always assume that writers will be good at talking about libraries because they probably spent so much time in them when they were younger but that’s not really it. It’s Babiak’s love of (and possible infatuation with) Edmonton and our mythology that makes him such a good tour guide.“

For more details about his book review, visit:

We love to hear from you, send your comments about the book via email to We will be sure to share your thoughts on our website.

About the Author

Todd Babiak is a best-selling novelist, an award-winning screenwriter and journalist, a producer, a consultant and a popular keynote speaker. He worked for the Edmonton Journal for several years and has published four novels: Choke Hold (2000), The Garneau Block (2006), The Book of Stanley (2007) and Toby (2010), Come Barbarians (2013). He lives in Edmonton.

Read an interview with Todd Babiak (PDF).






Looking for more books written by the author? You can find other books by Todd in our catalogue. We love Edmonton and our local authors too.