Local artist Douglas Jones has created this centenary poster for the Nelson Public Library.

Local artist Douglas Jones has created this centenary poster for the Nelson Public Library.

COLUMN: Mark your calendars for library’s centennial

The Nelson Library was founded in 1920 and will celebrate on Jan. 17

By Anne DeGrace

In 1920 historian and writer Pierre Berton was born, Agatha Christie published her first mystery, young readers couldn’t wait to get their hands on Glinda of Oz and Tarzan the Untamed, and Nelson celebrated its first official library. Yes, the earth undoubtedly shook. And why wouldn’t it? It was an excellent year for readers, with the stage set beautifully for future generations.

Books and reading have been a part of Nelson’s history since newsagent Gilbert Stanley became custodian of Nelson’s first reading room in 1891. By 1899, a Nelson Miner reporter had trouble finding his way through the library — by then located at Baker and Ward streets — because of the crowds. Now, in the digital age, libraries have changed, but love of reading and learning and coming together is as fully embraced as it ever was.

What’s not to celebrate about the centenary of Nelson’s literary love affair and library-centred conviviality? And so, celebrate we shall.

On Friday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. join us at the Capitol Theatre to celebrate 100 years! We’ll have two-time Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour award-winning novelist (and huge supporter of libraries) Terry Fallis, introduced by Leacock-award-winning Nelson author Jenny Craig. All 21 members of the Playmor Junction band will offer a big brass accompaniment to the festivities, Slava Doval’s DanceFusion youth companies will perform, Corazon Youth Choir will serenade us, and the multitalented Bessie Wapp will be our emcee. Indigenous elder Donna Wright will open the evening and, in a tradition enjoyed since the dawn of humanity, transport us with a story. Tickets are available now at the Capitol Theatre.

There’s a video competition underway for birthday greetings, with the winners to be shown on screen at the event (go to nelsonlibrary.ca for details). There are some great prizes, too.

On Sunday, Jan. 19 from 1 to 4 p.m. we’ll open the doors of the library for an afternoon of music with Rose Nielsen and Dan Obradovich, a historic re-enactment of the signing of the incorporation documents with actor Don Thompson, a fun photo booth with photographer Thomas Nowaczynski, period costumes, local brass — and cake, of course! It’s all free and open to the public.

I am particularly thrilled with our Official Centenary Artist Douglas Jones. Doug lives here but works everywhere (like so many of our talented residents), and includes in his portfolio of clients The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, Reuters, and American Airlines, among many others. He’s created a centenary poster image that speaks to reading, imagination, and the place we call home, and when we saw it we were instantly captivated.

Doug is also creating four illustrations that will represent the library’s journey through time. These have been created specifically for the walls of our Touchstones Nelson exhibition in the fall of 2020, and you’ll see them on commemorative bookmarks as well. Again, with a nod to storytelling at the heart of libraries, each tells a tale of the times.

Libraries are steeped in story. We are a place where stories are kept — yes, in print, video, audio, and digital formats — but we are also a place where stories begin.

They begin with babes-in-arms at our Baby Goose and Granny Goose storytimes, and they spread into new friendships as young parents get to know one another and connections between generations grow. People meet in the library and begin their own stories. Stories have begun through New-to-Nelson Potlucks and literacy programs, teen book clubs and community partnerships.

At the library, we celebrate stories while building new ones by connecting people with reading, learning, and each other. As 2019 draws to a close, we’re looking back at our legacy and forward to our future. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating 100 years of storytelling and storybuilding — and raising a glass to the ones we’ve yet to write.

Anne DeGrace is the adult services co-ordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week. For more information on All Things Nelson Library go to nelsonlibrary.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Nelson Police responded to 802 calls last year they say had an element of mental health. File photo
Nelson Police: 802 mental-health related calls in 2020

That accounts for 12 per cent of total calls for service

Several large trees came down in the recent windstorm and destroyed a part of the building that houses Camp Koolaree’s showers and boy’s washroom. The camp has served generations of Kootenay families since 1931 as the Nelson area’s longest running children’s summer camp. Photo: Submitted
Camp Koolaree’s wash house destroyed by January windstorms

The camp is in need of donations to make repairs

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Most Read