Carleton Place Library’s 110th Anniversary Marked
Ottawa Journal, 03 November, 1956
By Howard M. Brown
Residents of Carleton Place are celebrating the 100th anniversary of one of the town’s oldest institutions, the public library.
Special activities have been held to mark the event, for the library is the oldest in this part of Ontario, being in operation since 1846, a year before the Bytown Mechanics Institute founded the first library in Ottawa.
Its history actually goes back to an earlier date, for a predecessor existed in the form of the Ramsay and Lanark Circulation Library as early as 1829.
The Carleton Place library began with 16 subscribing members and in the first year the number jumped to 144. It has served the community ever since, and today more than 1,000 persons use its facilities regularly.
David Lawson served as the first librarian. Records show that in 1851, officers of the Library Association included James Duncan, a blacksmith, as president; William Peden, storekeeper, vice-president; David Lawson, secretary, and Robert Bell, MLA, treasurer. Directors included the pioneer editor, James C. Poole; George Dunnett, a storekeeper, and Duncan McGregor, a blacksmith, all of Carleton Place, and two farmers, Thomas Patterson and John McCarton of Ramsay Township.
Peter McRostie was librarian from 1887 to 1909, during the period when the town hall, which had housed the library over the years since, was opened in 1897.
Mr. McRostie retired a year before he died at the age of 78 and his daughter, Miss Emma McRostie, became librarian.
Miss L. Elliott, present librarian, was appointed in 1941. She takes a special pride in the library, for she sees in its shelves evidence that a high standard was set at the beginning in collecting its volumes, and has been maintained ever since.
On the library board are chairman E. H. Ritchie and directors Mrs. E. S. Fleming, Mrs. H. T. Rhul, Miss B. C. Brown, Miss Elliott and D. McLaren.
The anniversary celebrations included presentation by 12 boys and girls of a play, “The Marvellous story of Puss in Boots”, under the supervision of Miss Elliott. There was also an “open house” at which was a special showing of pictures, maps and other documents relating to the library’s early days. It was made available through the courtesy of Howard Brown.
An anniversary cake was presented and the guests were entertained at a social period by members of the board. A number of former residents were on hand from Ottawa, Toronto and other points.