Tag Archives: library

The History of the Carleton Place Library

The History of the Carleton Place Library



A History of the Carleton Place Public Libraryclick here

In honour of Janet Baril’s Retirement, Head Librarian 1984-2013

Starting in 1829, the Ramsay and Lanark Circulation Library originally served the townspeople of Carleton Place.  It had over 500 volumes, and was located in the Anglican Church which stood at Lot 16, 1st Con. Ramsay, opposite the Union Hall and schoolhouse.

Our present library began on March 14, 1846, as a Subscription Library with 65 original members.  The entry fee was 2 shillings and the yearly fee was 5 shillings.  The subscription list continued until 1850.  By 1851, the Carleton Place library was operating out of the school house on Bridge Street, later Central School, which became the site of the post office.  Some pages are missing until a partial list appears in 1864 when the record ends.

The officers and directors of the Carleton Place Library and Mechanics’ Institute for 1851 were:

President:  James Duncan (blacksmith); Vice President:  William Peden (merchant); Treasurer:  Robert Bell, M.P.P. ; Secretary:  David Lawson (store clerk, postmaster) ; Librarian:  Johnston Neilson (schoolmaster) ; Directors:  George Dunnet (merchant), Duncan McGregor, James C. Poole (newspaper publisher), Thomas Patterson (Ramsay farmer), John McCarton (Ramsay farmer).

April 5, 1865:  “The Carleton Place Library will be open on Monday next, and on the first Monday of every month hereafter.  Person wishing to read can on payment of .25 cent per quarter of a year.”

Interest in the library seemed to have dwindled until 1883 with the formation of the Carleton Place Mechanics Institute.  The object of this Association was to:  “establish a reading room and library, procure suitable apartments (sic) and deliver courses or lectures on useful and interesting subjects, as well as supply its members with the means of instruction in Arts, Sciences, Literature and General knowledge.”  They housed the library wherever there was an empty building, or an individual would take it to their home.  The Mechanics Institute looked after the library until 1895, when legislation was passed in Ontario whereby the Mechanics Institute became the Public Library, free of subscription dues.  The Town by-law taking over the Library was not passed in its’ complete form until January, 1897.  Upon completion of the Town Hall in that year, the Public Library began its’ long stay there.  At this time the book collection was 2,458 volumes, and the number of books taken out during the year was 4,418. 

In 1897, the Art Loan Exhibit, an exhibit of Lanark and Renfrew’s social and natural history was put together by the library at the Opera Hall in the new Town Hall.

Information from 1956 shows that “At present there are about 1,000 borrowers, approximately 8,000 volumes to choose from, and a yearly and growing circulation of over 20,000…on the library tables there is an excellent range of daily papers as well as periodicals of Canadian, English and U.S. origin, which can be read in the quiet and well-lighted main room…the library is housed in the town hall main floor, a central and convenient place for its users…”

In 1966 the Eastern Ontario Regional Library System was set up.  This allowed for a pooling of book resources and interests of all Public Libraries in the ten counties of Eastern Ontario. 

In 1970 the new library was built on land donated by the Town and funded by private individuals.  It measured 3200 sq. ft., four times the size of the Town Hall library.  Once again, in 1979, the Library needed more space and was expanded to double its’ size.

Then in September, 1986, the Library was vandalized and set on fire, destroying the adult fiction collection and causing water and smoke damage to the rest of the collection.  The library was moved to temporary quarters in the Mews Professional Building on Lansdowne Avenue, until the library was rebuilt and the fire damage cleaned up.  The Library returned to its’ home in February, 1987, with an official opening on May 23, 1987.

In 1994, the Library held 35,569 volumes and 93,040 volumes circulated during the year.  Also, 910 volumes were loaned to other libraries in Ontario and 966 volumes were borrowed from them.

Computerization came to the library in 1992 in the form of an automated system.  No more card catalogues, or hand-written patron library cards.  The future had arrived!

As a millennium project, the library underwent a massive renovation starting in

June 1999, and ending in February 2000.  At that time, the large Barbara Walsh meeting room on the east side of the building was turned into a much needed larger children’s area, with a new and smaller Barbara Walsh room added to the front of the building.  Glass fronted offices were added close to the new circulation desk, along with public internet access terminals and storage areas.  A local history/microfilm room was located near the Beckwith Street side of the building.

In December 2010, the library began to provide access to e-books through  Southern Ontario Library Service, for all Carleton Place and area patrons.  Ancestry Library Edition also became available early in 2011 for local family history buffs.

Statistics from 2011 show the Library holding approximately 63,000 items, with 108,280 circulating throughout the year.  As well, patrons borrowed approximately 2,440 e-books, and Ancestry Library Edition saw approximately 11,691 research hits.  Also, 1,273 volumes were loaned to other libraries in Ontario and 1,245 volumes were borrowed from them.


 David Lawson          1846-1851

Johnston Neilson    1851-1887

Peter McRostie       1887-1909

Emma McRostie     1909-1941

Louise Elliott           1941-1960

Barbara Walsh        1960-1984

Janet Baril                1984-2013

Carleton Place 200th fact-Thanks to Laura @Restovation — we now have this complete photo on file and available for all to look at online. Thank you. Downtown Carleton Place 1909—Built on the south side of the Mississippi riverbanks the new town hall was just about to be opened. The building which faced Bridge Street was to house “a joint” town hall, fire and police station, concert hall and new library.It was advertised as a building that would astonish strangers by its proportions and ornateness. The cost was currently at $25,000 and there were still yet bills to be settled. There was a good many ratepayers that were furious that the cost was above and beyond of the initial quote of $12,000 and they swore that council would be held responsible for such monstrous costs at the next election. In fact the media wrote that the council was said to have run away with their duties to their constituents, and it was built solely as a monument to them.


Carleton Place Library 110th Anniversary — Comments About the Old Library

What If Books Were Banned in the Carleton Place Library? It’s Banned Book Week!

I Wish Adults Knew —– Bad Art Night at the Carleton Place Library

Did You Know? The Oldest Library in Lanark County

Did You Know About the Rules of the Dalhousie Library? 1828 –The Library Pioneers

The Lanark Library and Florence Bowes

Carleton Place Library 110th Anniversary — Comments About the Old Library

Elizabeth Kelly — Mary Cook News Archives

Things You Did Not Know About the Town Hall….

Things You Did Not Know About the Town Hall….

Did you know that the late great former Mayor of Carleton Place Brian Costello’s father and mother once were the caretakers of the town hall and lived in a former basement apartment?

When Brian’s children came to visit their grandparents thought they lived in the biggest house in Carleton Place.

Frank and Gertie Costello were on duty 7 days a week 24 hours a day just in case of a fire call. The caretaker’s role included the fire dispatcher’s job.

On some nights the Costellos could hear the drunks who sometimes inhabited the the cells behind the bedroom walls and the police would come and go at all hours.

One Christmas his Frank Costello felt sorry for prisoners who were away from their families and invited them from their cells to share in the season of a fine meal at the Costellos.

When Gertie Costello would bake– she would make two pies: one for the family and another for the police and the prisoners.

Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage  Museum-by Blaine Cornell

When Ray McIsaac began as police chief in 1953 the police station consisted of two desks in a room sandwiched between the library and the fire hall, with cells for prisoners downstairs. The council chambers doubled as the courtroom and on Thursday morning court was in session.

The Fireman’s Ball was held in the town hall auditorium. Held the last Friday in January the event attracted 1,100 to 1,200 people and the ball would not end until the wee hours of the morning.

The CFRA Happy Wanderers also performed every Saturday night in the auditorium for 4-5 years. Attracting 600-800 people the whole police force would be working which was 4 men.

Once in awhile the police would bring in someone for questioning and people in the library would try and eavesdrop. The late great Barbara Walsh used to go up to them and tap them on the shoulder and tell them to move along. When Walsh started in 1960 she was one of only two women in the building along with the clerk’s assistant Isobel Shail. Thing have changed but —- do you know there have been only 7 women elected to council/mayor since 1905? The building was full of men and they had a smoking room set aside across from the clerks office where they could discuss matters during breaks.

The library moved out in 1970 to the present library on Beckwith Street. The Fire Department also was in the same building until the move to Coleman Street in 1997. The town hall used to be jammed with trucks and equipment and used to be crammed pretty tight. They used to put the old ladders through the old windows at the back from time to time. All this from a former wee house sitting on a piece of land once owned by William Morphy in 1820.

Photo- Linda Seccaspina

Dan Williams

When I was a kid the town hall including the auditorium was wide open. You could go in and discover stuff!. The balcony was a great place to go, or behind the stage which was pretty much unused spaced sort of like the attic in an old house. You could however make your way to the tower! Fun times! The other thing I remember about the auditorium is the annual Fireman’s Ball. I was just a kid but I remember being there and hanging around in front of the stage listening to some country band playing “On the wings of a snow white dove”. I hated country!

Forgotten Mill Street

The Building of the First Town Hall Carleton Place

What Didn’t You Know? The New Town Hall 1897
Carleton Place Town Hall Sued For Cupolas!

Why is the Town Hall Stage Slanted? Is it Collapsing?

Shenanigans of the Monday Night Town Hall Opening

What Didn’t You Know? The New Town Hall 1897

Sarah Marselles the Spirit of the Town Hall Square Park

Shenanigans of the Monday Night Town Hall Opening

Saved By The Bell in Carleton Place? What Does the Photo Say?

Clippings of the Almonte Library

Clippings of the Almonte Library

Screenshot 2020-05-02 at 11.32.37Screenshot 2020-05-02 at 11.33.241980 Almonte Gazette



The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
04 Jun 1981, Thu  •  Page 47

 - The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
08 Mar 1941, Sat  •  Page 9

 - The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
18 Feb 1980, Mon  •  Page 38


 - The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
15 Dec 1965, Wed  •  Page 9

 - The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
30 Apr 1908, Thu  •  Page 7


The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
01 Nov 1907, Fri  •  Page 12



The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
13 Mar 1965, Sat  •  Page 32


The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
17 Mar 1900, Sat  •  Page 7


The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
15 Sep 1910, Thu  •  Page 7


The Almonte Town Hall (circa 1910 pictured) was the original home of the Almonte branch of the library.



· March 8, 2016 

The Elizabeth Kelly Foundation Inc. (EKLF) is named after Elizabeth Kelly, a devoted and much loved librarian of the original Mississippi Mills Public Library. The Foundation was established in 1985 to financially support education and literacy.

The Foundation supports literacy and learning within Mississippi Mills, in the greater Ottawa area when there is a tie-in with our local community and farther afield by supporting Canadian charities working internationally.

The Foundation is a registered charitable (not-for-profit) corporation in Ontario, Canada.


Elizabeth Kelly — Mary Cook News Archives

Covered From Head to Toe with “The Beautiful” !! Almonte Train Station


Elizabeth Kelly — Mary Cook News Archives

Elizabeth Kelly — Mary Cook News Archives

img - 2020-02-08T210746.524

By Mary Cook

ALMONTE The new $300,000 library is a far cry from the two rooms tucked into the town hall Elizabeth Kelly remembers from 40 years ago. One small room held the magazines and papers, the other the books, both could fit into one corner of the library now bearing her name. Naming the building the Elizabeth Kelly Library, the town feels, is the least it could do for a woman who has devoted almost 40 years of her life to the reading concerns of its people, and many more than that as a member of the library. Her appointment as librarian in the ’30s came about because the librarian of the day retired, and Kelly had worked as a volunteer for several years before. She knew every book on the shelves and every member who came through the door. , “I was the logical choice,” she said. She modestly feels the new library is mostly in honor of her late parents, who dedicated their lives to the community. Her father, a family practitioner, and her mother were both voracious readers and strong supporters of the library. “So I feel calling the building the Elizabeth Kelly Library is in their honor, too.” When she began as librarian, she earned the grand sum of $35 a month. She never stopped to figure out how much that worked out to on an hourly rate, because she and her mother spent many extra hours at home cataloguing and preparing cards. “I couldn’t begin to do all that while running the library too, so I had to do a lot of the work at home. I was there almost 10 years before the board hired a helper for me.” In those days, schools had few reference books and encyclopedias were few and far between. So the school children had to make use of the library. “When the children were in for research, I usually was ‘ successful in persuading them to become library members. If I could get their interest by the time they were in Grade 3, they usually became life-long members.” The new library has been open for a couple of weeks, but an official public opening will take place on Saturday when the building, constructed on the site of the old CPR station, will be on view.




 - The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
10 Dec 1984, Mon  •  Page 4


Elizabeth Kelly From the Millstone

Mrs. Marion Graham was friendly with Miss Elizabeth Kelly (who by no small coincidence is the namesake of our library). Once I was visited at my office at 77 Little Bridge Street by Mrs. Graham and Miss Kelly. Miss Kelly was born and raised in this building. Interestingly, I was able to obtain the autograph of Miss Elizabeth E. Kelly at the foot of my original diary entry of this event. I say “interestingly” because there was some question in my mind when I met Miss Kelly on July 4, 1983 (when I understand she was well into her eighties) whether in fact she knew her own name. As it turned out, she knew a lot more than that. For example, Mrs. Graham turned to her at one point during our conversation and asked Miss Kelly whether she (Miss Kelly) knew where she was (Mrs. Graham had asked her this because my own office, in which we all were sitting, had once been the bedroom of Miss Kelly’s parents). To this Miss Kelly simply replied, “Yes. My bedroom was upstairs. There are twenty-four steps going upstairs.” Well, I need not tell you that, upon their departure, I wasted no time in counting the number of steps leading to the top of the stairs, and she was right!

Speaking of Miss Kelly’s bedroom, I once heard a story, perhaps it was from Mrs. Marion Graham (Library Board Member May 1953 – December 1975 and Chairman for 20 years), who, with Miss Elizabeth Schoular (Almonte Public School Teacher) and Miss Elizabeth Kelly (Librarian) and other like-minded citizens (W.J. “Jim” Coady, farmer & Chairman, 1953- 1955; Mayor Alex “Sandy” McDonald, In Charge of Dy house & later Superintendent ; Dr. John F. Dunn – Medical Practitioner; Rev. Arthur Hirtle, Baptist Minister; George L. Comba, Director of Comba Funeral Home; Stewart Lee, Merchant – Lee’ s Hardware; Miss Jessie Mathews – High School teacher, Latin, Art & some history) that Miss Kelly was such an avid reader that practically nothing could keep her from her books. Even as a young child, when Miss Kelly was sent to bed by her parents, she would pull the bare lamp-bulb down from the ceiling on its cord, and hide herself, the bulb and the book under the covers so that she might continue to read. Not surprisingly, this heated relationship with a burning bulb proved disastrous one night as her bed sheets caught fire and sent her fleeing onto the little roof-cover over the front porch of her house screaming for help. Years after I had bought the building, when I was having some work done on an area near Miss Kelly’s former bedroom, the tradesman asked me whether the house had ever had a fire. It was then that I recollected the story I had heard about her reading mishap. Parts of the old brick wall are still charred from that night.

Miss Kelly’s father was Dr. John King Kelly. Mrs. Graham reported to me that he was a very compassionate doctor, but he died a poor man. His books disclosed that he got paid most often in specie (potatoes, cuts of beef, and other such farm products). But he would never let the manner or probability of payment get in the way of him attending to an ill patient, even if he or she were as far away as Clayton on a wintry night.

Nora Headley
Steve Kelly She was a wonderful lady. She also was very involved with the Brownies and Girl Guides. I remember she “inspected” our mitred corners for bedmaking-no fitted sheets back then.
Barbara Joan Cook
Nora Headley she did that – sentvus on an errand to the bakery and had us make her lunch – I still make my bed with perfect mitered corners. I remember being worried that I would not pass and not earn the badge!
MB Wylie
Mention libraries and I always think of Miss Kelly. Many happy hours spent at the Almonte Library – in the Old Town Hall.

Unexpected Almonte


Elizabeth Kelly (daughter of Dr. & Mrs. Kelly) was Librarian in Almonte for 33 years, until her retirement in 1972 (pictured below). The following story illustrates the often dangerous results of reading 😉

“As a young child, when Miss Kelly was sent to bed by her parents, she would pull the bare lamp-bulb down from the ceiling on its cord, and hide herself, the bulb and the book under the covers so that she might continue to read. Not surprisingly, this heated relationship with a burning bulb proved disastrous one night as her bed sheets caught fire and sent her fleeing onto the little roof-cover over the front porch of her house screaming for help. Years after I had bought the Kelly building, when I was having some work done on an area near Miss Kelly’s former bedroom, the tradesman asked me whether the house had ever had a fire. It was then that I recollected the story I had heard about her reading mishap. Parts of the old brick wall are still charred from that night.”

(source: the article, “Stories and Folklore” written by William Chapman in the Millstone in 2011)

And a little bit more #Almonte library history below (source: “Almonte Faces and Places 1880-1980” – find the book at the library!) #NothingCanStopAReader

Mary Cook Archives

Mary and Walter Swinwood — Mary Cook News Archives 1981

The Evolution of the Women’s Institute — Mary Cook News Archives 1982

Bob Sadler’s Boat Rides –Mary Cook News Archives 1982

Carleton Place Ladies Auxiliary — Chamber of Commerce 1987– Mary Cook Archives

It’s Hard for Women to get into Office in Carleton Place — 1974 –Mary Cook

Mary Cook Archives —Philip Mailey — January 25 1983

Carleton Place a place for Mad Scientists! Mary Cook News Archives 1983

Mary Cook Archives — Rifle Ranges and Nursery Schools — September 1980

Mary Cook News Archives — The Wool Industry 1982

The Moldowans —- Mary Cook News Archives 1982

Clippings of Cheryl Coker — Mary Cook News Archives

Memories of Judy Hawkins – Mary Cook News Archives

The Elizabeth Kelly Library Foundation Inc. CLICK

Judi Judi Judi —- The Carleton Place Public Librarian

Judi Judi Judi  —- The Carleton Place Public Librarian



Yes, the rumours are true. After 27 years at the library, our amazing Judi has decided it’s time to start a new chapter in her life. She’s retiring at the end of December, and we’re inviting everyone to help us send her off in style.

Please join us on Monday, December 16th from 1:30pm-3:00pm as we celebrate with cake and refreshments. Come and share your well wishes, a fun memory, and let her know she’ll be missed.

There aren’t many people in this world like Judi Simpson, and we’ve been lucky enough to hear her laughter, share in her joyous events over the years, and marvel at her gift for recommending books to readers of all ages. We’ll miss her terribly, but we know she’ll be busy with that new granddaughter, and enjoying the idea of sleeping in once in a while!

Congratulations, Judi!


image003 (1)


Here are some statements from staff:

“Before working at the library, my family and I were regular library users and my children’s favourite librarian was Judi. She was always so welcoming to young families and made people feel welcome by greeting them with a personal hello. As a staff member, I discovered  a friend who loves to laugh as much a I do. Her reader’s advisor skills are unparalleled and will leave a hole for the rest of us to fill in her absence. She will be missed by kids, adults and staff alike.”  -Sheila



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“Here are the things I love about Judi!!

She is so welcoming and kind

She made me feel at home from day 1

She is a really great grandma!

She is genuine

She has become a friend in such a short time

And I’m really really going to miss her!” – Kristine



“What sticks out for me in many of my memories of Judi is her unique ability to make a connection with anyone.  Working at a library, people from all walks of life come through our doors.  Judi has always been able to show kindness and share a joke with anyone.  She never hesitates to take an extra needed moment with a patron, and when they visit the library again, Judi is sure make them feel welcome with by remembering a tidbit about them:  their child’s name, or perhaps their favourite hockey team.

This leads to a common occurrence here at the library:  our staff often laugh at the frequency of patrons walking into the library to ask at the desk, “Is Judi here?”  followed by a disappointed face when she is not.  We love how beloved she is by our community.

Judi’s mark on this library will be felt for a long time.” -Meriah



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Being one of the longest remaining staff members at the Carleton Place Public Library, Judi has been a part of my career and life for the past 17 years, and I can’t imagine this place without her. How many Tuesday nights did we commiserate over a heavy snowfall, or laugh endlessly as one of our young patrons visited with us at the front desk? She was my partner in crime during crazy hair Storytime sessions, my confidant while I worked on super-secret summer plans, and my guide when I needed advice on how to handle a problem with one of my class visits.


I’ll miss her quick wit, her genius with book recommendations, and her willingness to always give a new computer skill a try. But most of all, I’ll miss seeing her come through these doors, already mid-story about her walk in, with a wide smile and a question at the ready about my day. It’ll be a very different library without Judi.


I wish her many afternoon naps, plenty of time with her sweet granddaughter, and a treat basket that she can fill with her wonderful baking. Happy retirement, Judi!” – Heidi



Years ago my brother-in-law called to tell me that my sister Robin was sick, so the next day I drove down to see her. The minute I walked in the door and looked at her I saw my late mother’s eyes looking at me. I knew she was terminally ill although everyone around her had such hope. Within three weeks she was diagnosed with the family disease called Lymphoma.

And so began the 3 hour return journey every second day to see her at the Kingston Cancer Hospital. Most times she was unconscious and did not know I was there. One day I sat in the waiting room and saw a copy of the teen book series “Sweet Valley High” and started reading it. Suddenly the book’s characters Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield became people I could rely on to get me through the day. If you asked me today what the stories were about I could not tell you. But every second day I was at the Carleton Place library checking out “Sweet Valley High” books as I was living their normal lives in my mind.

Every time one of the nurses in the ICU unit would see me they would ask me what was going on in Sweet Valley High. While I sat beside my dying sister I read to her about the twin’s daily antics that did not include a cell phone or texting.  My sister died that August  and the only thing that got me though everything was continuing to read books. I think I read every Sweet Valley High Book in the Carleton Place library and not once did the librarian question why. All she ever did was stamp my books and keep me going with her words and love. Thank you Judi!




Carleton Place Library 110th Anniversary — Comments About the Old Library

Carleton Place Library 110th Anniversary — Comments About the Old Library



Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 03 Nov 1956, Sat,
  3.  In January of 1969 The Carleton Place Library was seeking acquisition of Victoria School to establish a new library. The present location that they were using at the town hall was inadequate especially with the increased use of the library. What do you remember about the library at the town hall?


Ray Paquette I remember a smell, not necessarily foul, more musty and dusty. It was quite warm in the winter, When you entered, immediately to the left was a long table piled high with children’s books, including my personal favourite, “Paddle-to-the-Sea”. Periodicals and newspapers were kept on tables with chairs in front of the adult stacks, ahead and to the right. Miss Elliott, the librarian, sat at a desk behind a quarter wall and it was here you brought your books, a maximum of three, to be signed out, again for a maximum of three weeks. Every book was stamped with a due date and woe betide you if you were overdue! Behind the desk to the right was a small room which held a number of reference and historical books. In the late 40’s and early 50’s, like a number of my friends, I was fascinated by the recently ended war and, particularly, the Air Force part of it. When I was deemed old enough, perhaps eleven or twelve, Miss Elliott allowed me to borrow books from this area. I can remember a number of the titles, such as “Reach for the Sky” by Douglas Bader, the legless fighter pilot, “Cheshire, VC” by Group Captain Leonard Cheshire. Despite the totally unsuitable facility, a “make do” location, the Librarian, Miss Elliott, ably assisted by Mrs. Barbara Walsh did a a magnificent job and fostered a love of reading in me which I have retained to this day….

Lynne Johnson I loved the books, the windows, the smells, the wood, the walk up the stairs, getting the books stamped. There was a young woman who worked there who had limited use of one arm. She could open the book to the back and stamp the card with the due date with one arm. Very able and skilled. I still have very warm memories whenever I walk in to that building.

Ann Stearns Rawson Charlene Law’s dad would take us to the library. We took out as many books as possible every time. Loved having my library card stamped. Funny what one remembers fondly.

Sandra Rattray I practically lived there. As soon as I walked in Miss Elliott would put her finger to her lips.

Linda Gallipeau-Johnston You had to be a certain age to borrow more than 1 book at a time – I remember graduating to 3. I also remember the “evil eye” of Miss Elliot when you were late. Ray, funny that smell is the first thing that pops into my mind when I think of that place.

Ray Paquette I think it might have been the dust on the old radiators of the heating system…

Wendy LeBlanc Wonderful memories. Best friend Peggy Mace and I read all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books, and we loved a series of kids’ craft books that used common household items like string and newspapers or shoeboxes. We visited the library weekly and were thrilled when we were old enough to go in the evening.

Joann Voyce I started borrowing books from there when I was 8 or 9 years old as my Grandmother Voyce gave me the book Heidi for my birthday. I read every book they had for young girls and have never stopped reading. Now I read daily from the Library on line.

Nancy Hudson One of my favourite haunts as a youngster. Miss Elliott ran a tight ship absolutely NO TALKING. Ray pretty much described it to a tee in his posting above. I developed a lifelong love of reading because of this place.

Norma Rotzal Spend many hours at the library. Reading, using the encyclopedias for school work. Still love having a book in my hand for reading.


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Did you know the library used to be in the town hall and Brice McNeely Jr was not only the superintendent for the St James Sunday School but also the town librarian. He picked out the books for you to read and you had no choice in the matter and had to take what was given to you.
Photo-Tom Edwards

 - girlhood. A whole sleigh-load of girls, the...

Clipped from

  1. Ottawa Daily Citizen,
  2. 16 Dec 1895, Mon,
  3. Page 8



Janice Tennant Campbell I went there all the time.

Donna Zeman I remember that! Thanks for bringing back that memory!

Sylvia Giles I went there every Thursday night when my Mom was getting her hair done at Marg and Don’s! Great memories!!!

Valerie Edwards I remember it well. Miss Elliot, at the big desk. the benches right under the shelves, or you could use them as steps to reach the top shelves. The Reading Room with the atlases &. There was or is a painting of part of it at the present Library right at the desk. It was a pleasant, peaceful & safe place.


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place and The Tales of Almonte

  1. relatedreading

The Lanark Library and Florence Bowes

The Lanark Library and Florence Bowes



Photo from the Elaine Playfair Collection thanks to Middleville Historian Laurie Yuill

In 1968 Mrs. Florence Bowes began working for the Lanark Public Library as an assistant to Mrs. Wallace Machon. Mrs. Bowes was born in Middleville and moved to Lanark following her marriage to Art Bowes. They originally lived on George Street in Lanark Village and then later moved to the Perth Road.

Florence got her training from Mrs. Machon and she eventually got her experience through the general growth of the library. The library was once situated in one room in the Town Hall,  and had a great selection of books, but there was no room for anyone to sit. There was an old wood stove in the centre of the room and a table and a few chairs, which meant 10 people became a crowd in the room.



Lanark Town hall After the fire–June 16/59; day after the fire-photos below were taken by Ileen Sheard and submitted by Candas Price.

Then came the tragic fire and everything was lost except a few books which had been taken out the night before. The teachers at the then Princess Street School offered their staff room and they began to set up a temporary library. The community also helped donating their books as well as other local libraries who offered them what they could.

During the Centennial in 1962 the new Town Hall and the Lanark Library opened 3-4 nights a week. But, television was brand new during that time and library traffic slowed down until the novelty wore off. Soon an addition was added and the Public Schools began using the Library once a week until they got their own library.


 - ment, . , Profit from the centennial...



When Mrs. Machon resigned Florence was chosen to be the Head Librarian and her daughter Lynda came in to help her with the typing and the paper work. But then the filing system changed and they needed help and Gloria Affleck came to the rescue. It took over two years to change that filing system which was mostly  done on their own time.

Florence said the workload increased and folks just did not realize what it took to process one book so she and Gloria took work home. In 1978 Florence Bowes retired from the Library and today the the Lanark Highlands Public Library is a team of dedicated staff and volunteers committed to enriching the community by providing access to the world’s ideas, information and changing technology that sits on George Street in the heart of Lanark Village.






 - LANAI A Large Number of looks Added to the;'...

November 1898

 - ' Uitsiuippi River Boy. Wednatday-lJO...


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place and The Tales of Almonte

Did You Know About the Rules of the Dalhousie Library? 1828 –The Library Pioneers

Did You Know About the Rules of the Dalhousie Library? 1828 –The Library Pioneers

At a meeting held in the #12 schoolhouse on the third concession of Dalhousie, April 1, 1828 Mr. Thomas Scott resolved to establish the public library if everyone paid the following sums and held up the rules.

Each subscriber if they pay __ shillings shall be a member. The annual payment must be paid on or before the first Saturday of ___ for the use of the Library.

If a donor donate 5 pounds he will be exempted from annual payments

The business of the Library shall be conducted by a Committee of 12 or more. They with a president and secretary to be chosen at the annual meeting which shall be held in the #12 Schoohouse third concession, Dalhousie, on the first Saturday in March to audit accounts, to prepare a list of books from which the Committee are to make purchases of the following year, and to enact such regulations as may appear necessary.

Every controversy shall be determined by a plurality of voices, the president being allowed to vote as a member, and in case of an equality, again as President.

The Library shall attain a sufficient number of books and at one o’clock on the first Saturday of the month give out to the members in rotation such a number or volume as may from time to time agreed on by said quorum, which are no to be kept for more than 4 weeks.

The Secretary shall keep a cash book, a minute book, and a journal of the books lent out, and the condition they were in when returned if damaged.

Subscribers losing or injuring a volume shall either replace it, or pay the price of the book.

Subscribers are not to keep a volume beyond the time prescribed in article 5th, under the penalty of one shilling for each month longer kept.

Subscribers are not to lend the books of the library to non-subscribers, under the penalties of five shillings for each such offence.

The individual share of members can on no account be drawn, but may descend to his heir, or be transferred to another provided the new member be approved.

No member of the Committee to be absent either from a general or trustee meeting under the penalty of sixpence for each offence.

No subscriber shall be entitled to any of the priviledges of the library until he has paid his fines and annual contribution, unless he be from home at work; then he shall be allowed__ months.

No alteration or amendment shall be made to these Rules and Regulations, except at a general meeting.



The interior of the Dalhousie Library 1925


The Dalhousie Library was originally in a log building called St. Andrew’s Hall. For every 70 years it remained a landmark as the faithful subscribers gathered in the hall and sought to gratify the longing of intellectual hunger.

The log building had a large fireplace and all that remains now is a stump.  The building was put to a variety of uses and it was numbered as one of the early schoolhouse and it was also the first church. St. Andrew. Thomas Scott was the first president and guide of the Dalhousie Library Society from 1828-1854 when his place was taken by Hugh Hunter who held another 15 years. Other names were: John Monro, James Reid, Andrew McInnes, John J. Paul, John Cumming, William Boyd and James Park. James Park built the first bookcases at the Dalhousie Library. The boards were made out of the great pines from neighbouring hills and manufactured in a sawpit in the forest.



1925 Photo of the location of the library at Watson’s Corners


Every Library Day St. Andrew’s Hall was packed from morning until nightfall and members made long treks through the woods to get books for the next few months. For another 50 years or so the Library lived on. In the late 1800s the interest began to dwindle. By 1900 the membership had fallen to 12 and the books numbered just about 350. The St. Andrew’s Hall disappeared and was housed in any convenient place, at one time was above an open public horse shed.

The library exists today in the back of the Watson’s Corners Community Hall (behind the barred window that you can see near the cache), with books and artifacts from the village’s history along the original pine shelves built in the village in 1827. It contains a number of the library’s original books, including many of the 120 books stamped with the Earl of Dalhousie’s Coat of Arms and others that made the journey from Scotland to the Watson’s Corners area with their original owners.


The Dalhousie Library

In 1828, eight years after the original settlement of this area, the St. Andrew’s Philanthropic Society founded the first public library within the old Bathurst District. A log building, known as St. Andrew’s Hall, housed the library for many years. The Earl of Dalhousie, Governor-in-Chief of Canada (1820-28), subscribed money for its support and donated a number of books. Thomas Scott, a pioneer settler, was the first president, and among the distinguished citizens who subscribed were the Right Reverend Charles Stewart, Anglican Bishop of Quebec, and Archdeacon John Strachan, later first Anglican Bishop of Toronto. The library was incorporated in 1852 and a number of the original books are in the present community hall that was built in 1847.




 - UNVEIL PLAQUE Commemorate 1828 Library Near...

Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 27 Jun 1964, Sat,
  3. Page 36

Did You Know? The Oldest Library in Lanark County