History of St. Paul Municipal Library from its humble beginning as library club back in 1935 to where we are now.
The Business Girls Library Club (1935-1953)
In 1935, a group of business girls got together to form a library in St. Paul. The girls held a tea in the rotunda of the Lovie Hotel. The cost of the tea and cake was a donation for a book. This was the beginning of The Business Girls Library Club.
The first library was in a corner of a building owned by Mr. Brassard. It was situated across main street from the Lavoie Hotel. When the Bank of Commerce donated a room above the bank for the library, library relocated there. Library was open one evening a week there for a few years.
Third location of library was a small building on 50 St. and 49 Ave. When this building was moved to 5030-49 Ave to become part of house, town hall was built on this site. The Town allowed the Business Girls Library Club a small area in the town hall for the library.
It was a struggle to keep the library going but the girls persisted. The club held teas, bake sales, raffles, and hours upon hours of volunteer work, all for the love of books.
Some of the original members of this club were Alice Lavoie, Irene Meunier, Gertrude O'Neil, Dora Morris, Agnes Lavoie, Billy Cyr, Phyllis Lambert, Marcel Campeau, Eva Hopkins, and Stella Pitre.
In 1953 The Business Girls Library Club was dissolved due to lack of funds. Jaycettes were asked to take over the library.
Lorraine Dupuis, Rose Bagan, and Pauline Bedard attended town council meeting to decide the fact of the library. the Town offered 4100.00/year for new books and $100.00/year for the librarian. Lorraine Dupuis volunteered to be librarian in January, 1954 and Pauline Bedard was her assistant.
In 1955, library was open twice a week. One afternoon and one evening. Trudy Naundorf, Lorraine Dupuis, Beatrice Bedard, Mrs. Sheahan, Pauline Bedard, Alice Rowland, and Stella Tremblay volunteered at the library to help keep it going.
St. Paul Literary Club (1958-1967)
The Jacettes dissolved in December of 1957 and St. Paul Literary Club was formed. The first meeting of the Literary Club was held in the Donald Hotel banquet room on May 8th, 1958.
At this point, library was bursting at the seams again. It needed more room. Ray Reierson (M.L.A.) was contacted to ask for usage of the vacant Alberta Government Telephone building. Library moved to its forth home in 1960. The ladies of the club spent hours packing books. The boxes were hauled in cars, lifted, tugged, and shoved to the Alberta Government Telephone building by ladies in Literary Club to be unpacked and shelved.
St. Paul Municipal Library (1967 - Present)
Library was on the move again. Library moved into the new Town Hall in 1967 (5th location). John Fisher dedicated a plaque to the ladies of the Literary Club. We were officially coined as St. Paul Municipal Library this year. Staff was hired and regular hours were established at this time.
Our library began with tea back in 1935. Many teas were held over the years to raise money to buy books. As such, Habitat Homecoming in 1976 was celebrated over tea to welcome back home former members. More than 20 formal members of the Library Club, Jaycettes, and Literary Club were reunited at a tea.
Library celebrated its 50th Anniversary on June 8th, 1985.
Thanks to the Friends of Library group, library was able to move one more time to our current location. Irene VanBrabant of the Friends, Doreen Bean of the library board, and librarian Rachel Holman were heavily involved in the project. On May 15th, 1993, library officially opened up in our current location. For more information regarding this move, please check Friends of Library section of our history.
Friends of Library (1989 - Present)
As library grew, a need for new home for library began to grow more and more dire. A group of concerned citizens started to meet in May 1989 discuss what can be done.
The group became registered society under Alberta Consumer and Corporate Affairs in September, 1989 and began to raise funds for new facility to accommodate fore the growing needs. At the forefront of the Friends was Irene Van Brabant who was the organizer of and strength behind the Friends of the Library group.
Friends of Library group advocated for inclusion of new library in the addition to the Recreation Centre to Town Council and raised $150,000 via bingos, auctions, and call out for donations to make this project possible.
Many local volunteers have donated hours upon hours of labour to help build the new library.
In addition to the pledging $150,000 for construction of new library, friend group also paid for the furniture and equipment found inside the library ($31,800 as of April 1993). In 1994, Friends of Library group pledged additional $15,000 for the cost of paving the parking area in front of the library.
In 2013, Friends of Library group came through for the library once more helped pay for the new carpet and fresh coats of paint on our wall.
Friends of Library supports library to this date by raising money to allow library to update its equipment, improve our collection, get new furniture, maintain our services, and more.
Thank you everyone for your dedication and effort that keep our library going.