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An appreciation of the Public Library

November 19, 2015

Here is an early recognition, from New Westminster in 1887, of the importance of funding the public library.

“Half a Year –
Six months ago the Public Library and Mechanics Institute was reopened by the old librarian, Mr HW Hughes.
Now that the city is connected with Ontario by direct railway communication, we are sure of plenty of strangers in the future, and this is the only place outside of the hotel for a newcomer to enter and pass away an hour or two in the afternoon or evening.
It costs nothing for those just arrived, and for old residents but 50 cents per month, or one bit for seven days, this being just what is paid for one cigar.
One hundred and eighty-five names have been written down as members already, and if these paid at the 1st of each month all would be success.
However, some forget, some have moved away, and a few have retired, the charge doubtless being so large.
Thanks to the mayor and council and a number who never have time to enter the place, strangers and those who have no home have an agreeable place to enter all the year round.”

While we do not expect to find a Librarian to play chess with, as Morley Roberts did at New Westminster,  we appreciate that Libraries are made agreeable not only with volumes of Dickens, but with Librarians. Thank you.

On the other hand, we don’t want anyone slouching in their chairs, now do we?

Don’t Mess With Texts Says the Public Librarian at New Westminster

For those caught with papers hot off the premises, no news will be very bad news. A dire warning from the year 1888.

“The Librarian of the Public Library in this city complains to us of the fact that some unknown individuals are in the habit of carrying away many of the journals belonging to the institution. It is to be regretted that some persons cannot go in the library without acting in this disgraceful way. Should anyone be be caught at it, he will probably never do it again.”



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