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Your donation will be directed to this charity’s endowment fund, established at the Niagara Community Foundation.
The Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library is a team of community volunteers and professional staff who are committed to enriching the community by encouraging and providing access to the world's ideas and information.
On November 17, 1977, the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library gained formal recognition as the first circulating library to be established in Upper Canada.
One hundred and seventy-seven years earlier, on June 8, 1800, forty-one prominent Niagara residents met to form a subscription library, which they named the Niagara Library. The Library operated successfully until the War of 1812. Many other volumes were lost, stolen or destroyed by the time the American troops withdrew and burned the town in December 1813.
The present public Library dates from October 1848 when the Niagara Mechanics' Institute was founded The Board of Police offered the Institute a room below the Judge’s Chambers in the Court House for its fledgling operation. At this time, the Library was located in the former Grand Jury Room on the third floor of the Court House. This location was not very accessible to borrowers. As a result a better home was found in 1896. The old covered market at the rear of the Court House, on the ground floor, was available. The Library moved in and occupied two-thirds of the area and the volunteer firemen had the other third. This location became the permanent base from which the Library continued to expand. Miss Carnochan worked tirelessly until her death in 1926 to establish the Library as the social, political and information centre for the community.
In 1938 the local taxpayers voted to remove the Library from the Public Library Association (a private organization) to become a free public library under the municipal government. This scenario also meant that the Niagara Library was eligible for government grants and that Board members were appointed by the Town Council and the Board of Education. The Librarian at that time was W.C. Caskey. When Mary Duddy became Librarian in 1942, the collection had reached 10,070 books. Helen Greves succeeded her in 1967. Ms Greves was succeeded by Gerda Molson who became Chief Librarian in 1969 and served in that position for thirty-five years, until December 2004. A new library was opened at 10 Anderson Lane in November of 2000. Since 2000, library membership has grown to over 10,000 members.
Program & Services
For current information on the programs and services offered by this organization, please visit their website by clicking here.