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Our History

1907 On October 15, Regina's citizens, led by the Hon. Walter Scott, presented a petition to Regina City Council asking that a free public library be established.

1908 A bylaw enabling the formation of a public library was passed on January 17, 1908. On February 17, the first Library Board was appointed by Regina City Council. The first Board meeting was held on March 27. On July 30, J.R.C. Honeyman (1908 -1936), a former provincial civil servant, was appointed Librarian and Secretary Treasurer of the Library Board.

1909 On January 1, the Library was given three rooms on the second floor of the new City Hall. City Council voted $8,000 to purchase books and cover expenses, and the Library opened to the public on January 1.

1910 On April 8, Andrew Carnegie, an American steel magnate and philanthropist who helped establish many libraries across Canada and the United States, provided an initial grant of $30,000 for a new Library building; the amount was subsequently increased to $50,000.

1911 On May 5, contractors Wilson & Wilson started construction on the new Library building, designed by the architectural firm of Storey & Van Egmond.
On November 28, the Library Board stated in correspondence that, "Owing to the surprising rapid growth of the City of Regina, the Library Board has had under serious consideration the question of making timely provision for adequate library service in outlying portions of the city ... " As a result, the Board began seeking suitable sites for branch library buildings in the subdivisions of Mirror (S.W.), Parkdale or Washington Park (N.W.), Douglas Park (S.E.) and Eastview (N.E.) areas of the city.

1912 On May 11, Lieutenant Governor G.W. Brown officially opened the new Central Library building. Just six weeks later, on June 30, a tornado struck Regina. The new Library was among the many buildings that were damaged. When Mr. Carnegie was contacted, he paid the reconstruction bill of $9,500.

1913 On September 8, as Regina continued to grow, the Library responded to the need to open two branch libraries. A wooden building, which had served both as a station of the White Line Street Cars of the then new Regina Municipal Railway, as well as the Board of Trade Office since 1910, was bought for $650 and moved to Market Square at Halifax Street and 11th Avenue. The Branch was named the Eastern Branch. At the end of 1918, it was closed for renovations, moved to Winnipeg Street and 13th Avenue, renamed the Prince of Wales Branch and reopened in 1920. In 1929, the building was moved to its current location at Broder Street and 14th Avenue.

Upon the request of the Ward Five Ratepayers' Association, the Board contracted with Roger Edwards for the construction of a wooden building at Robinson Street and 8th Avenue at a cost of $2,200 based on architectural plans prepared by Storey & Van Egmond. This branch was named the Albert Branch.

1918 On December 7, responding to the North East Rate Payers' Association, the Board opened the Scott Branch at Scott (now Broder) Street and 6th Avenue in a leased grocery store with attached cottage, which had been renovated. The branch was renamed the Eastview Branch on November 15, 1924. On November 23, a new Albert Branch, in a larger brick building designed by Joseph Warburton, was opened, replacing the original wooden building.

1931 On January 5, after lobbying by the West End Electors' Association, which started in 1928, Connaught Branch was built at the corner of Elphinstone Street and 13th Avenue. The building was designed by architect Joseph Warburton. The Branch was designated a Municipal Heritage Property on February 20, 1984.

On December 29, the North West Ratepayers Association requested that the Board "open a library in the northwest section of the city, west of Pasqua Street and north of the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway."

1936 Frederica Armstrong was appointed as the new Chief Librarian, serving until 1940.

1940 C. Cecil Lindgard was appointed as the new Chief Librarian, serving until 1945.

1944 At the request of the Library Board, City Council purchased property north of the existing site to allow for extension of the Central Library to 12th Avenue.

1945 Charles D. Kent was appointed as the new Chief Librarian, serving until 1948.

1946 The Central Library began offering films and audio records.

1947 A room was opened at the Central Library to display works of art.

1948 Majorie R. Dunlop was appointed as the new Chief Librarian, and served until 1971.

1954 In response to the rapidly expanding city, a book trailer serving the Pasqua Street North, Imperial and Lakeview areas was put into service.

1956 On June 7, Horace S. Moses, Librarian of the Topeka Public Library, submitted a commissioned study on library services, Report of a Survey of the Regina Public Library for the Regina Public Library Board with Recommendations far Reorganization and Indications of a Need for a New Central Building.

On June 30, the Eastview Branch was closed and a book trailer stop established to serve the community.

1957 In January, a second book trailer was added to provide service to the Rosemont, River Heights, Hillsdale, Gladmer, East Regina, Dewdney West and College East areas, bringing the total book trailer stops to 11.

Due to overcrowding at the Central Library, the Boys & Girls Department was moved to the main floor of the Connaught Branch, with the adult collection moving to the basement.

1959 A third book trailer was put into service, increasing the number of book trailer stops to 13. Albert Branch was expanded to include the Book Trailer Headquarters.

1961 The original Carnegie building was demolished in June, and work on the new library by contractor Smith Brothers & Wilson began immediately. The architects for the new Central Library were Izumi, Arnott & Sugiyama. The stonework bearing the sign "Regina Public Library" was saved from the old building and placed in the entrance way of the new building. A circular medallion bearing the Library crest -torch and open book inscribed Qui Legit Regit -He who reads, rules -is still displayed today.

1962 On December 5, the new Central Library was officially opened. On December 8, the Boys & Girls Department reopened at the Central Library.
The first curator for the Dunlop Art Gallery, Bruce Parsons, was hired.

The Globe Theatre staged performances in the Central Library for the next four years.

1964 Shut-In Unit service began this year.

1966 On September 17, Regent Park Branch officially opened its doors in a leased facility in the Regent Park Shopping Centre on Sherwood Drive.

1972 Ronald F. Yeo was appointed as the new Chief Librarian and served until 1988. In October, the Library Gallery was officially named the Dunlop Art Gallery in honour of Majorie Dunlop, the former Chief Librarian.

1973 The Prairie History Room and Learning Centre were officially opened on the newly constructed mezzanine floor of the Central Library.

1974 On March 20, the Library Board approved the Regina Public Library Policy Statement, which stated that the Library's objective was, "to provide education, information, research, aesthetic appreciation and recreation for the entire community." The policy statement was revised in 1979.

The Film Theatre opened in the Central Library.

1976 The Library took on the responsibility of researching street names for the City of Regina.

1977 The first annual Regina Public Library Book Sale was held.

1977 Regina Public Library conducted the first Canadian study on library service to children. The study, Children Using Media: Reading and Viewing Preferences among the Users and Non-users of the Regina Public Library, focused on school-age children, whether they used the Library or not.

1978 In November, the Prince of Wales Branch was broken into and gutted by fire. The Branch was renovated and re-opened on October 21, 1979.

1979 The Glen Elm Branch, in the east end of the city, was officially opened on February 27. The building, designed by Building Design 2 Ltd., was the first location to house a Dunlop Art Gallery Branch Art Gallery.

Regina, the Street Where You Live: Origins of Regina Street Names was published by the Library, with a second edition coming out in 1988, and a third in 1992.

1981 On February 1, the Sherwood Village Branch, in the northwest of the city at 6121 Rochdale Boulevard, was officially opened. The Branch housed a Dunlop Art Gallery Branch Gallery.

On February 4, the North Central Community Society/ Albert Community Library Committee was established to provide a link between the neighbourhood and the Albert Branch, and to act in an advisory capacity on the operation of the Branch. This agreement was renewed on May 16, 1996.

1982 In August, the Branch Site Study was completed. Customers who were surveyed at the Central Library, Connaught and Glen Elm branches, and four book trailer sites reacted positively to the construction of a Branch in south Regina.

1984 On April 1, the Audio Visual Unit service area was expanded as part of the renovations of Central Library. The Prairie History Room was also moved to a larger area on the main floor.

On October 10, the Library became fully automated, with the installation of the GEAC circulation and online catalogue system.

On October 11, Albert and Connaught Branch libraries were designated Municipal Heritage Properties.

1985 On November 17, the South Albert Branch, in the Sunset Mall in south Regina, was officially opened.

1988 Ken Jensen was appointed Chief Librarian and served in that capacity until 1999.

1990 On May 27, the Sunrise Branch, which opened to the public on May 1, was officially opened to serve the residents of southeast Regina. The library-owned building adjoins the Southeast Leisure Centre owned by the City of Regina and the facility is jointly operated by the respective parties.

1991 On March 3, the Mobile Trailer service, which had operated out of the Albert Branch basement since 1954, was discontinued. As a consequence, service to the book trailer stops at Eastview, North Broad, Park Street; and in Argyle Park, Uplands, Pioneer Village and Rosemont came to an end.

On November 20, the Library Board approved the Branch Siting Policy as a strategic planning document for the development of library services in the City of Regina. The document re-articulated the vision of the first Library Board, of providing equitable and accessible library service to all the citizens of Regina through the establishment of full service branches based on defined service criteria.

1997 The full service branches, as of 1997, were the George Bothwell, Glen Elm, Regent Place, Sherwood Village and Sunrise. The neighbourhood branches, in what now constitutes the inner-city, were Albert, Connaught and Prince of Wales.

1992 On June 8, Principles for Planning became the new guiding document for the Library, setting out its vision, mission, values, goals and objectives. This document replaced the Regina Public Library Policy Statement document which had been in place from 1974 to 1990. On November 19, the Library Board approved a revised Principles for Planning. The document served as a foundation for a review and revision of many Library practices. The Library's stated mission became to enhance "the quality of life in Regina by providing access to information for cultural, economic, educational and recreational development."

1995 On January 14, the George Bothwell Branch, which opened on December 5, 1994 in a leased stand-alone facility attached to the Southland Mall, was officially opened to serve the residents of south Regina . The Branch was named after George Bothwell (1916 -1996), who served as a Regina Public Library Board member for more than 30 years. With the opening of the George Bothwell Branch, the South Albert Branch was closed .

On March 25, the Regent Place Branch, which opened on February 20, 1995, was officially opened to serve the residents of north Regina from a leased stand-alone-facility. As a result, the Regent Park Branch was closed.

Also in March, Tanka Research was commissioned by the Library to conduct a survey of user needs throughout the city during March/April to help guide the Library in its decision making. The Needs Assessment Survey was the culmination of that research. Among other things, analysis of the data showed that the Library's market penetration in the city was higher than the number of registered customers.

1996 On December 27, the Audio-Visual Services Unit closed, and its public services were re-distributed through other Central Library units.

1997 In February and March, the Library held public meetings to solicit input to assist the Board with its strategic planning for the future of the Central Library and a future West Branch .

On May 15, the Library launched its new web site at:

1998 On May 1, the Regina Public Library first offered public Internet access.

1999 Alexander (Sandy) Cameron was appointed Library Director.

2001 The Regina Public Library Board approved Where Ideas Begin, the Strategic Plan for 2001-2005.

2002 The Regina Public Library developed the ESL Tutor Training Manual. The manual is available on the National Adult Literacy Database and has been downloaded in 60 countries.

2004 RPL was one of the project sites for the Working Together project. The project was funded by the Office of Learning Technologies of Human Resources and Social Development Canada to develop methods for libraries to work with low-income communities through a community development approach.

2005 Jeff Barber was appointed Library Director and Chief Executive Officer.

2009 RPL received the Ontario Library Association President's Award for Special Achievement for the Working Together Project.

2010 RPL developed an ESL Online Tutor Training Course. The online course is used by many literacy organizations across North America.

2011 The new Prince of Wales Branch in the Core Ritchie Community Centre was officially opened on October 17.

2012 RPL received funding from an anonymous donor to expand and evaluate the impact of its Mainly Mother Goose program, an interactive early literacy development program for children under two and their parents/caregivers.

The new Regent Place Branch was officially opened on September 28.

2013 Read Together Regina was launched in partnership with the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region to encourage development of early literacy skills by providing new babies with resources and books.

2014  Work on the development of the North Central Shared Facility (NCSF) continued  and the final drawings for the facility were approved in preparation for release of tender documents. The project will go to tender before the end of 2014, and the facility will be ready for occupancy in 2017. RPL is excited to play a role in this unique, first-of-its-kind facility for our North Central community.

2015  Construction began on the mâmawêyatitân centre, the facility that will house a new Albert Branch Library. Completion of the Centre is scheduled for Spring 2017.

2016  Construction began on the expansion and full redesign of the George Bothwell Branch Library in the Southland Mall. A temporary Branch was set up in the Mall during construction. The redesigned Bothwell is expected before the end of the year.

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