Welcome to the Banff Public Library
2016, May 3 - 2:26pm — chaworth
The Banff Library was founded in 1949 through the work of the Junior Chamber of Commerce. First located in the basement of the Banff Clinic, staffed by volunteers and funded by donations, its beginnings were small and humble. The original book collection consisted of about 2,000 volumes, mostly novels. In 1962 Peter and Catharine Whyte and Barbara Whyte offered space in a private home at 111 Bear St. for the library. It remained at that location until 1968 when, through the continued generosity of the Whyte Foundation, the library moved to a shared space with the Archives of the Canadian Rockies. In 1974 the Banff Library became a full-fledged municipal library, financed by local taxes and government grants. By this time the collection had grown to 16,000 volumes, a library board had been established and a professional librarian hired. In 1984 the Whyte Foundation, needing the shared space for their growing collection, offered the library board a sub-lease on its property west of the post office for the building of a new library.
Through local fundraising, grants and contributions this building became a reality, having its official opening in April of 1985. In 2000, Banff Public Library became the first library in Alberta to eliminate library membership fees for local residents. In 2002, at the Alberta Library Conference, The Honourable Gene Zwozdesky, Minister of Community Development presented The Creative Public Library Service Award for 2001 to the Banff Public Library for the library’s project, aptly titled “Reaching Readers”. This initiative made free library cards a permanent policy in Banff and brought province-wide attention to the vital role that public libraries play in a democratic society. The library now has 42,000 books, audio materials, and DVDs. 3,900 community members have a library card. In 2014, 139,000 people visited the library.
The incredible community support shown to this very public library by the Banff municipal government and the residents of Banff continues to allow the library to offer the best in public library service.