Kate Harrison Whiteside
From humble beginnings in 1939 on Washington Street, to several years in the court house basement, to its current location on Columbia Avenue, Rossland Public Library is celebrating another chapter of its life – turning 75 – and moving forward.
“We were incorporated on October 4, 1939 and opened October 14,” said Beverley Rintoul, Director. “When you think what was going on at the time (World War II), it’s amazing how organized they were,” she continued.
Anniversary activities are already underway including fundraising for renovations, a collection of 75 Books for 75 Years, and gathering people’s memories. It will culminate with a celebration on Saturday, October 4.
“It’s fitting that we are celebrating in October as that’s Canadian Library Month,” said Rintoul.
Thirty years on from moving to its current location, previously home to a gas station, the Library’s interior will be getting a modern look and feel.
“We’ve hired an architect and started fundraising,” said Rintoul, “We have a target of $300,000.”
The plans include upgrading the electrics with more plugs for people’s technology, more comfortable seating, more appealing displays and a meeting space with size flexibility.
“We got funds from the Columbia Basin Trust Community Grant,” said Rintoul, “and, we will be buying several tablets, making them kid-proof and using them for the early digital learning program.”
“We are still in the design stages,” said Rintoul. “But, when the plans are available for the public to see, that will really kick-start the fundraising.”
People can support the Library’s renovation plans by donating at the Library or Nelson and District Credit Union, or online at www.rosslandlibraryrenewal.com.
The 75 most checked-out books – the Library’s ‘best-sellers’ list – have been gathered and are now on display for people to borrow. They range from the obscure to the well-known, with some having to be ordered in.
“There will be a book-a-day from this collection listed for 75 days from July 21 to October 4,” said Rintoul. “The best-sellers, a mix of kids’ and adults’ books, will be posted on our Facebook and Twitter pages.”
The staff is also busy collecting people’s memories of trips to the Library.
“Someone told us how they remembered going to the library in the court house on Saturdays, and how the staff all wore parkas, because the heat was turned off on weekends,” said Rintoul.
“One person shared coming in and taking out the same book every time,” said Rintoul. “They said they took it home and made their dad read it.”
A woman brought her grandfather in, who had been on the board, as part of a trip to visit all the places he’d lived. He had worked at Cominco, but his library experience inspired him to become a librarian. At one time he worked at the State University of New York library.
“I thought what a great trip,” said Rintoul, “but to hear his library story was fabulous.”
You can write your memory down at the Library and leave it in the jar provided, or send it in from the website link on www.rossland.bclibrary.ca.