Nelson Public Library celebrates 100 years with special events

The party begins Jan. 17 at the Capitol Theatre

Illustration: Douglas Jones

Submitted by Nelson Public Library

Library lovers — and anyone who enjoys a great event — will want to mark their calendars for the Nelson Public Library’s 100th birthday celebrations coming up in the New Year. Two special events offer plenty of ways to live it up with the library.

On Friday, Jan. 17 a special event at the Capitol Theatre starting at 7 p.m. is set to start the celebrations in style. Tickets are available at the Capitol — and they make fabulous Christmas gifts, according to chief librarian Tracey Therrien.

“It’s such a great lineup, and a wonderful way to celebrate this milestone birthday,” she says.

Two-time Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour award-winning author Terry Fallis, introduced by Leacock-award-winning Nelson author Jenny Craig is the evening’s literary headliner. The Playmor Junction Big Band will offer a big brass accompaniment to the festivities, and will feature Juno Award-winner Dave Restivo on piano.

Slava Doval’s DanceFusion youth companies will perform, Allison Girvan and the Lalin Choir will serenade us, and the multitalented Bessie Wapp will emcee. Indigenous elder Donna Wright will open the evening and, in a tradition enjoyed since the dawn of humanity, transport the audience with a story. There will also be more than a few surprises, including the winners of the library’s video contest (entry info at

On Sunday, Jan. 19 — the 100th anniversary of the library’s incorporation — everyone is welcome to enjoy a free open house at the library from 1 to 4 p.m. Actor Don Thompson will appear as 1920 Mayor “Long Jim” McDonald, offering a spirited re-enactment of that auspicious day. Musicians Rose Nielsen and Dan Obradovich will bring their guitars and voices in a program that’s sure to include Check Him Out, Nielsen’s musical masterpiece of love and libraries.

Also on hand is photographer Thomas Nowaczynski, offering free photos — dress-up or otherwise — so folks can have a souvenir of the occasion. It’s a birthday, so there will be cake, of course.

“We’ve come a long way since 1920, but love of reading, learning, and connecting as a community has been a constant throughout the decades,” says Therrien. “We’re proud of our role in Nelson’s past, present, and future.”

A stunning poster and timeline illustrations by Nelson artist Douglas Jones are available for purchase as frameable prints, books bags, cards and bookmarks. The library is set to celebrate all year, including a historical exhibition at Touchstones Nelson in the fall.

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