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Library History

Public libraries have changed dramatically over the years and the Boyne Regional Library is no exception.

The Boyne Regional Library was first organized by The Young Citizen’s Group in 1943. The Young Citizen’s Group was led by President Alfred J Strachan and Secretary Margaret Burnett who began gathering a collection of donated books, and for lack of library quarters these books were displayed in local store windows. Initially the books were displayed in the window at the local drugstore F.W. Humphries once the library collection outgrew that window, they relocated to Art Hand’s Insurance. During this time the staff at these businesses acted as librarians.

When the library outgrew the insurance office it moved into the community room in the Memorial Hall. The Young Citizen’s Group made freestanding shelves and they were soon able to move in. Mrs. Earl Taylor was the volunteer librarian three times a week for several years. Lucy Saunders took over as librarian after a few years.

The library soon outgrew the Community Room, and they began thinking of a permanent building. A new post office was being built in Carman in 1970 and The Town of Carman and Rm of Dufferin arranged to purchase the now vacant old post office for $5000.00. Renovations began and the library was officially opened in November 4, 1972.

The original Post Office was built in 1914 and opened in 1915; it was the third Post-Office built-in Carman. It was built of Tyndall Stone and brick from Medicine Hat, Saskatchewan. The clock in the tower was made by A.E. Joyce and Company of Whitechurch, England. It was shipped to Manitoba from England where they forgot to unload it and it went back to England. They realized their mistake and sent it back to Manitoba therefore crossing the ocean three times before finally reaching its destination. For many years the clock was manually wound twice a week. Volunteer Frank Graboweski looked after the clock for 18 years, installing motors in 2005 to eliminate the need to wind the clock. The weights are automatically adjusted by the motors, yet the clock is still 100% original in regard to the mechanical operation of the clock. The clock now only requires maintenance a few times a year which is performed by Stanley Reitsma.

In order to get provincial funding, the library had to become part of the Regional Library System. This required a referendum which was passed in 1968. The library building was designated a Municipal Heritage site on January 25, 1990, by the Town of Carman.

The first paid librarian was Marjorie Catt, who graduated from Red River College. She began while the library was still in the Community Room at the Memorial Hall. Rosella Semple was employed at the library from 1975 until her retirement in 1993. Helen Stewart started working at the library in 1977 first as a volunteer and then became Head Librarian in 1992 until her retirement in 2006. Sandra Yeo started her employment at the library in 2003 and became Head librarian in 2007.

Three extensions have taken place over the years. One in 1985 that included expanded room for adult books and a new children’s section that was officially opened by Dr. Paul Hiebert on November 15, 1985.

Secondly an addition including the sunroom was opened in 2000.

The library purchased the Rusty Spur property in December 2007 with the Town and the RM of Dufferin removing the old building and creating a green space for future library expansion. After a few years of planning and fundraising the library added another expansion in 2020. This included office space, staff room, sitting area and a much needed accessible ramp for the public to access the library.

The Boyne Regional Library has seen many changes over the years including a computerized system in 1994, public internet access, online databases, and digital collections. The library has responded to the needs of the community by offering additional services, programming, and expanding the collections and providing up to date technology.

Today the library is a busy information hub and center for the community. With over 40,000 visits per year, a circulation of over 150,000 and approximately 500 children participating in the summer reading program the library continues to be relevant and one of the busiest rural libraries in Manitoba.