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About Us
History of the Library
1897 Founding of the Westmount Public Library in commemoration of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. Bylaw 82 states that the "Free Public Library and Reading Room … shall be forever free to the use of the inhabitants and ratepayers of the Town."
1898-1899 Construction of the library designed by architect Robert Findlay. The cost for the 1899 building, furniture and books is $16,375.
1898 Miss Beatrice Glen Moore hired as Librarian for $520 per year.
1899 June 20, Gala opening of the Library. Records show 694 borrowers and a collection of 1,992 books.
1900 Ms. Mary Solace Saxe is hired as Librarian.
1911 Opening of the Children's Department. Robert Findlay designs the extension to include a workroom and a receiving room in the basement. Ms. Saxe attends a meeting of the British Library Association in Liverpool.
1914 More than 500 books are sent to England for rebinding. McGill binder repairs 90 volumes. Story hours are held on Saturday mornings. A separate Reference Desk service is opened.
1917 The Library stacks are opened to the public.
1925 An addition to the Library is designed by Robert Findlay and his son Frank. This addition includes more stacks space, an additional reading room and a new librarian's office. The windows are inserted with the names of Canadian authors. The new wing contains the music section, the art section, reference books and a mezzanine floor. First recorded cooperative efforts with the local schools.
1929 The picture file is created.
1930 Librarian Mary Saxe retires. Kathleen Jenkins is hired as Chief Librarian.
1936 Remodelling and modernising of the Library building are completed. This includes a new workroom, new concrete floors, air conditioning, new counters for borrowers. The turnstile to the stacks is removed.
1940  Summer loan of library materials for vacations from 3 - 8 weeks permitted. The one novel only rule is relaxed. Borrowers can have one new book and any two others. Services of the Library and Reading room are made available to all ranks of the Active Service garrisoned in Westmount. The Library acts as a receiving station for donations of books and magazines on behalf of the Armed Forces.
1943 The number of books purchased drops sharply due to poor paper and binding. The Library has considerable difficulties acquiring new titles, especially children's. The Library is appointed Curator of all material collected by the newly formed Westmount Historical Association. A Music Appreciation Group is formed and gives fortnightly concerts in the Library.
1943-1949 Recataloguing and reclassification of the Library's books; the Dewey Decimal System replaces the alphabet system.
1946 Poliomyelitis epidemic closes the Children's Department for 5 weeks.
1947 Sharp price increases for books; 40% - 60% for novels.
1948 The Library celebrates its 50th anniversary with 200 invited guests. A pamphlet describing Library services is distributed to all Westmount householders. The Library loan period is changed from 14 - 28 days.
1951 Membership is extended to those living beyond the municipal boundaries for an annual fee of $5. Paid memberships are limited to 400. Teen section is set up adjacent to the adult circulation desk. The Children's Department is renovated.
1954 New fluorescent lights and the painting of the walls and ceilings in the Adult Department improves lighting 6 - 8 times. Parking spaces are added.
1957 The Carnegie Corporation of New York donates 350 books chosen to interpret "contemporary American civilization and its origins".
1959  New addition to the Library includes steel stacks for almost 100,000 volumes, new shipping area, and new Children's Department including a separate story room. The old Children's Department is converted into offices; the staff workroom is doubled in size and the Reference Department is enclosed.
1961 First year for provincial grants to libraries. Students of private schools in Westmount are not charged membership fees. Paperbacks introduced especially to fill the need in mystery section.
1962 Mrs. Norah Bryant becomes Chief Librarian.
1963 The provincial grant is used for the installation of a book depository for books returned after hours.
1964 A librarian is hired specifically for the French language collection.
1965 Student membership is introduced.
1966 Sight-saving books are added to the collection. A sprinkler system is installed in the main library building.
1967 The Centennial Reference Room is opened. Carpeting throughout the Library helps to keep down noise. A filmstrip projector and 80 storytelling film strips made from the books' original illustrations are acquired.
1968 The Children's Department opens in the morning during the summer.
1972 New display facilities are designed by Harry Mayerovitch. The Library collection grows beyond the 100,000 mark.
1973 Home Library service is started.
1974 Reciprocal memberships with LaSalle Public Library and the Town of Mount Royal Library are approved. There is co-operative buying and exchange of large print books with these libraries.
1975 A cassette collection is started. Games are provided in the Children's Library.
1978 The first library book sale collects $2,400 and 400 books for the collection.
1979 An interlibrary loan network is established between 15 Montreal public libraries.
1980 The Children's Library opens in the morning. English and French non-fiction are integrated in the Library collection.
1981 An elevator and a handicapped washroom are installed.
1982 Rosemary Lydon becomes Chief Librarian. The reserve stack area, including a Government Documents area is completed. The University of Toronto Library Automation Services produce sets of cards for the public catalogue. Elizabeth Cleaver prints are unveiled in the Children's Department.
1983 RECON project (retrospective conversion of existing records to machine-readable format) is started.
1984 85th anniversary reception. The Library acquires its first microcomputer; an IBM personal computer is installed to upgrade the automated cataloguing system. The collection of Westmount materials is set up in a separate area of the reserve stack.
1985 A videocassette collection is introduced.
1988 Sorecom poll of the Library services. By-law 82 is revised. The Trustees will be appointed by Council and all residents as well as property owners are eligible for appointment. The Children's Historical Collection is catalogued.
1989 90th anniversary celebrations. Development Plan and Facility Study by Mr. A.W. Bowron makes recommendations both about future operations and building expansion.
1990  By-law 1047 deals with administrative fees and costs. Six new staff positions are added. An Audiovisual Desk is opened. Hours are extended on weekends. The Building Committee compiles a comprehensive building programme for the use of architect Peter Rose for the renovation and extension of the Library. The Automation Committee prepares a mandate for the Automation Consultant.
1991 Building poll. The citizens approve a plan to renew and enlarge the Library building.
1992 A CD-Rom workstation is added in Reference. New higher shelving means Library art exhibits are suspended.
1993  A security system is installed. GEAC Advance integrated library system is selected. Caroline Thibodeau is hired as Director of Library and Cultural Services.
1994 During the renovations of the Library the adult and reference collections are moved to 4225 Ste. Catherine St. W. The Children's Department, Audiovisual, Technical Services and Administration move to Victoria Hall. A second CDRom workstation is acquired. The Westmount Public Library becomes the first public library in Quebec to connect to the Internet.
1995 The Library renovation and new addition are completed. On November 9 - 11, everyone is invited to celebrate and tour the new facilities. The Library catalogue is automated.
1996 The Library's Web site is launched. The self-check system is installed. The Novell network is installed.
1997  Non-resident fees are increased to $90. Opening hours are extended to 9 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. on Sundays. Re-positioning of professional staff to support public services. Author readings and programming are greatly expanded. The Library Mission Statement is adopted. "The mission of the Westmount Public Library is to enrich the community by providing a welcoming environment in which to read, learn and discover." The CDRom network is installed.
1998 The Library is open during most of the ice storm but materials are not circulated. Library Book Clubs, French, English and Children's are formed. Non-resident fees are increased to $125.
1999 Centenary celebrations are marked with special activities all year. A Victorian Teddy Bear Party for Children and a Centennial Author Gala are held on the Library's 100th anniversary, on June 20. The Library computer systems are upgraded to make them Y2K compliant. The Library network is integrated with the City's email and messaging system. The Library by-law is revised and the role and function of the Library Committee and of the Library are determined.
2000 Ann Moffat is appointed Director of Library Services. A Friends of the Library Group is formed. Healthy Cities Committee raises $8,000 for 2 Health Databases in the Reference Department.
2001 Friends of the Library first booksale nets $2,400 in one day sale from donated books. Email offered on Library reference computers. Metcalfe house dollhouse restored for the children's department
2002 With the Montreal merger, all citizens of the Island of Montreal are able to have Westmount Public Library memberships at no cost. Membership increases 60% to 14,181, circulation increases 30% to 425, 218.
2003 Circulation exceeds 450,000, an average of 38 per member.
2004 The Library's Canadian Government documents collection added to the library catalogue. Printed library promotional flyer sent to all Westmount households detailing services. Library programmes and events included in Westmount's Culture, Sports and Recreation Activities Guide. Wireless access to the Internet available in the Library.
2005 Library loans DVDs. FastReads collection, a changing collection of current and popular books is developed to deal with waiting lists.McEntyre Writing Competition attracts over 1,000 entries.
2006 Library implements new web-based library management system GEAC's Vubis.
2007 Online Services and Archives Librarian position created. Storyteller’s “Cape of Imagining” created by Board member Lily Lam. Library mission stencilled on entrance hallway. Seniors’ membership fee of $50 for non-residents established.
2008 Members’ ratings and reviews added to online catalogue. Book club in a bag service created.
2009 New Library Web site  includes interfaces for adults, children and teens.
Ann Moffat, Director of Library Services, retires.  

Julie-Anne Cardella is appointed Director of Library Services.
2010 The Library’s Storytelling Garden wins the top landscaping award in a competition held by Les Arts et la Ville, an organization the City of Westmount joined in 2009.
2011 Children’s Library celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Last update: Wednesday, July 11, 2012

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