Li­braries cel­e­brate 50 years

Cum­ber­land Public Li­braries has pro­vided free ser­vice to the county since 1967

The Citizen-Record (Cumberland) - - CUMBERLAND COUNTY - BY CHELSEY GOULD CIT­I­ZEN-RECORD AMHERST staffre­porter@cum­ber­land­news­now.com

Cum­ber­land Public Li­braries is cel­e­brat­ing 50 years of op­er­a­tion, with the an­niver­sary of its for­ma­tion held July 27.

Cum­ber­land Public Li­braries held open houses at all of its li­braries and a pup­pet show at the Parrs­boro band­stand on Thurs­day. There was also birth­day pro­gram­ming for chil­dren.

Cum­ber­land Public Li­braries, orig­i­nally known as Cum­ber­land Re­gional Li­braries, was first formed on July 27, 1967.

The first Amherst library was es­tab­lished on Dec. 6, 1967, in the Con­fed­er­a­tion Me­mo­rial Build­ing – the for­mer town hall and now a busi­ness in­no­va­tion cen­tre. There was also a book­mo­bile ser­vice and the Parrs­boro, Springhill and Ox­ford li­braries opened the fol­low­ing year. Ad­vo­cate opened a library in 1985 and River Hebert and Pug­wash opened their li­braries in 1988.

Greg Jones, fire chief, cut a cel­e­bra­tory rib­bon in the morn­ing to open the Amherst library.

Jones chose the name for the Four Fa­thers Me­mo­rial Library, lo­cated in the for­mer Acadia Street School. His name was se­lected from a con­test that was held for school chil­dren.

“I re­ally had no in­ten­tion of putting the name in,” said Jones. “It was our school teacher at the time who made us sit down and draw up a cou­ple names.”

Gover­nor-Gen­eral Ray Hnatyshyn opened the library in 1991 and pre­sented Jones, then a sev­enth-grader, with a set of en­cy­clo­pe­dias and a gold com­mem­o­ra­tive coin.

Be­fore the library or­ga­ni­za­tion was formed in 1967, cit­i­zens could only take part in a paid sub­scrip­tion ser­vice to bor­row books. Cum­ber­land Public Li­braries has pro­vided free ser­vices since then, but has faced cuts in re­cent years due to in­suf­fi­cient fund­ing.

“I re­ally think that the provin­cial gov­ern­ment has to sup­port the li­braries if it’s a ser­vice that they want to of­fer to their cit­i­zens,” said Corey. “It’s re­ally im­por­tant that library ser­vice re­mains a free ser­vice.”

The library has also pro­vided pro­gram­ming for all ages. One ex­am­ple is an art night that was held Tues­day, led by Dar­lene Strong. The free op­por­tu­nity for at­ten­dees was made pos­si­ble be­cause of a Canada 150 grant from the provin­cial gov­ern­ment.

Dianna Law­less, li­brar­ian since 1995, thinks that read­ing is just as im­por­tant as ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties, which she doesn’t think enough peo­ple be­lieve.

“You need to have some down time in your life, and read­ing is a per­fect way to do that down time, and be your me time,” said Law­less.

The library is also cel­e­brat­ing its birth­day year by giv­ing a free book to any­one be­tween ages one and 18 who comes in dur­ing their birth­day month. Those in­ter­ested can also do­nate $25 to the library for a cel­e­bra­tion book­plate printed with their name to be placed in a book.

Fire Chief Greg Jones cuts a “Happy Birth­day” rib­bon to open the Four Fa­thers Me­mo­rial Library.

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