It takes a dedicated soul to spend hundreds of hours poking in boxes, staring google-eyed at endless microfilm reels, and interviewing movers and shakers past and present, but Nelson Public Library board member Eileen Holland wanted to update the history of this long-serving institution, and do it right.
“You’d think that research into the history of a library might be dry, but I found it fascinating,” said Holland, a former teacher, magazine editor, journalist and freelance writer.
“There’s more going on behind the scenes than you might think.”
The Nelson Public Library celebrates its new history book with a special launch — complete with special guests and a touch of comedy — on Thursday, October 2 at 7 p.m.
The Story of the Nelson Public Library, 1986 – 2013, picks up where the previous history left off. Written by historian, author, and former Library Board member Frances Welwood, Nelson’s Library, 1895 – 1985 covered the early years of the library in back rooms and basements and to its 50-year “temporary” home in the Nelson Civic Centre — finally declared undersized and inaccessible.
Holland’s full colour history book takes readers through six chief librarians, three referenda, and a move.
It follows operations from analog systems and into the digital age. And it offers a scope of programs and initiatives, with anecdotes and sidebars illustrating the Library’s — ahem — storied past.
Chief librarian June Stockdale is thrilled with the completion of the history to date.
“Eileen has done a fabulous job. The history is well-written and engaging. It’s so important that our history is recorded, and wonderful to be able to read it in such a pleasing format.”
Former chief librarians, board members, and staff have been invited to attend the event.
Frances Welwood will appear as Mrs. A.J. McCulloch, secretary of the Nelson Library Association in 1899; Holland has threatened to dress up in 1980s attire.
Notorious Nelson actress Lisel Forst is preparing a comedy sketch for the launch.