History of the Black-River Matheson Public Library

Interest in a local library began in 1912. In September of that year, the council received a letter from the Committee of Temperance and Social Reform drawing attention of the Council to the need of some place of recreation and entertainment such as a reading room and library. The Council was asked to take the initiative in providing such a place. In February 1914, the council accepted the offer of a free library of five hundred and fifty-six volumes from Mr. J. B. Phillips and established a Library Board. This library was destroyed by the 1916 fire. The Matheson Herald of 1921 carried this article: “Good News for Matheson to those literarily inclined. The Government has innovated a system for a circulating library, by which the inhabitants, young or old, may borrow reading material of a high class character from Mr. Archibald, the schoolmaster, when they desire”. Dr. Little, M.D., started a lending library in 1928, but within a few years it was defunct through the lack of new books. An Association library was begun about 1954 under the sponsorship of the Home and School Association. This was located in the old Mission Store on Sixth Avenue. Original book supply was donated to the new library. When the present library, known as the Kathleen B. Potter Memorial Library and The Black River- Matheson Public Library was built and given to the town in 1957 by Mr. Robert Potter, in memory of his late wife, the Association Library moved from its temporary quarters on Sixth Avenue. Shortly afterwards, at the annual meeting of the Matheson Association Library on January 22, 1958, the following motion was made: “THAT we recommend to the Town Council that they assume the responsibility of the Matheson and District Library Association, and that the present Library be transferred into a Public Library”. The following week the Council passed a bylaw establishing a Public Library in Matheson effective February 1, 1958. The operation of the library was directed by a Library Board with Mrs. C. Weir as Librarian. With approximately 12,000 volumes of its own and membership in the regional library, the library provides reading material for a present membership of over 1,000 adults and children. The Library addition was built in September 1975 with help from a Federal-Provincial Winter Capital Project. Land was donated by Gary and Mary Jessup. The first Librarian from 1958-1965 was Mrs. C. Weir, followed by Mary Audet, Marge Haley, Sadie Harris, Rose Marie Ray (1984-1995), Linda Lougheed (Jan. 1996 -July 2004), Margaret-Anne Friese (Oct. 4, 2004 to 2008), Karen Ukrainetz (2008-2017), Margaret-Anne Friese (June 2017 – present).

Ramore Library History
In the mid 1970s, the Ramore Public Library was begun by six college students working for the Employment Youth Program called “Operation Jeunesse”. The students worked very hard at this project. Although this only stared out a a school endeavour, it evolved to a public library in the old ONR station. In 1977, the Ramore Library became a branch of the Black River-Matheson Public Library. Mrs. LaSalle and Mrs. Robillard were the named the two librarians. Trips were made to the Matheson Library to talk to the librarian and get familiar with how the library was run. Stocking shelves was no easy task. Originally, the students from the program collected books from the community from donations. Soon afterwards, as members of the Ontario Library System, the book mobile would stop at the library three or four times a year and books were kept for a period of time to add new material to the library. Books are still being traded with the main library in Matheson as well as purchased new. Donations are always appreciated. In the April of 2006, the Ramore Library went through major renovations to bring the library up to fire code. In 2016, the Ramore library moved to 112-375 McIntyre Avenue in Ramore.

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