Libraries celebrate 50 years
Cumberland Public Libraries has provided free service to the county since 1967
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.