Six decades of reading pleasure in Killarney

Lakeland Regional Library celebrates 60 years 


It was a surprisingly emotional afternoon on Tuesday, amongst the lavishly decorated cakes and coffee, as the local library staff celebrated the milestone of sixty years of lending books.

Killarney’s Lakeland Regional Library, which exists quietly within the sage walls of a Williams Avenue building, threw a party this week to mark the event, after sending out charming invites, hand-written on stamped library date due cards. 

“We are so grateful for our patrons,” said Gwen McTavish, chair of the library board. “They borrow books, and make us glad that we are here. I think the heart and soul is our staff. Our guys are great; our past and present staff has been great to work with. You guys mean the world to us.”

The walls were adorned with a series of photos and press clippings, dating back to September of 1959, when the ribbon was first cut on Killarney’s library. The Killarney Guide covered the event – along with the Winnipeg Free Press, whose editor appears to have assigned a reporter to make the long drive out west and attend the opening ceremony.

“It would have been a big event back then,” said library volunteer Kathryn Beattie, who, as a schoolgirl of 12, worked at the library in those early years, often cleaning the floors. “For a small town to have a library was quite unusual back in 1959.”

But books didn’t always fill the shelves of the present building.

The Killarney Library was first situated in the old Bate building, just a block north on Williams, said the group of past and present staff. 

Torn down a few years ago, the historical Bate building originally served as Killarney’s very first Post Office. The library was later housed downstairs in this turn-of-the century building, while the J.A.V. David Museum was ensconced in the upstairs level. 

The library later moved to its present location in 1974, where it remains today. And the space of ground that remained after the Bate building demise was recently recreated to become the beautiful Emerald Memorial Park, right next door to the newer museum building. 

In the summer, museum staff can open a door from their building which leads directly into this park, and children enjoy museum programs there, amongst the flowers and paved walkways.

Library administrator Krista Law said that Lakeland Regional Library, which includes a library in the towns of both Killarney and Cartwright, is supported financially by the two relative municipalities, the province, and also by the generosity of foundations, and private and business donations.

“All of the books you read are paid for by these people,” said Law. “And thank you to our donors. We really appreciate that. It keeps us here, and keeps us vibrant. It’s a really great community to be in.”

A trio of three enormous cakes was cut, and coffee and punch were served. So many people attended the happy event (and deeply enjoyed the cake) that more chairs had to be carried in for the celebrants. 

Amongst the books and shelves, the photographs and clippings, the passing of 60 years was celebrated in style on September 3. The last big party was held here 30 years ago, in 1989, and the next one, to mark 90 years, would optimistically be slated for 2049, which is quite a thought.

Technology has changed our lives – but books and reading nonetheless remain a wonderful and powerful part of the world around us, despite the predictions.

Thank you, to all the library volunteers, staff, and financial supporters, from all of us who love to read.

Below is the Killarney Guide’s coverage of the library’s 1959 opening, followed by more photos from the 60th anniversary celebration.

A LOVELY LIBRARY CAKE – This is just one of the three gorgeous cakes consumed at the Lakeland Regional Library’s 60th Celebration held on Tuesday, September 3. From left are library administrators (past and present) Krista Law, Val Bull, Gloria Kinley, Carol Chapman, and Lil Hysop.

CELEBRATING 60 YEARS – Lakeland Regional Library threw a party on 
Tuesday, September 3, 2019, to celebrate their 60
th year of lending books. Above is a collection of library staff – both past and present – with previous administrators sporting a beautiful wrist bouquet. From left are: Rose Bateman, Janice Sylvester, Val Bull, Carol Chapman, Gloria Kinley, Kathryn Beattie, Bonnie Kroeker, Stacey Shackel, Krista Law, and Lil Hysop. The library first opened in September of 1959, in the Bate building down the street.

REMINISCING AND REFLECTION – Chair of the Lakeland Regional Library board, Gwen MacTavish, speaks during the library’s 60thanniversary celebration last week. On the far left is librarian Gloria Kinley, next to current administrator Krista Law.


NOT SHORT OF CAKE – The 60thbirthday celebration of Lakeland Regional Library, held on Tuesday afternoon at the Killarney branch, drew a great crowd. So it was good there were three sumptuous cakes to go around. Here are just some of the guests enjoying a slice, on a beautiful September day, surrounded by books. There will be another Library Birthday Party – for the children! – on Saturday, September 7 from 10 a.m. until noon, with crafts, games, and more cake. All are welcome, and it’s free.