Excerpted from: “Rainy River : Our Town, Our Lives” by Marg Thompson. 1979.
“The official history of the Rainy River Community library began in 1956 with the establishment of the first Library Board. The members were Mrs. F. Stanley Mealy, Chairman; Mrs. James Michie, secretary-treasurer; Rev. L.C. Fryer, Dr. J.S.G. Fraser, L. Farago, Mr. R. Withers and Mrs. A. Brockman.
The first community library was opened on June 5, 1956, in the Community Centre, with Mayor C. Olinyk and A. Warnuk, Chairman of the Rainy River Recreation Committee, officiating at the ceremonies. There were approximately fifty people in attendance. At this time the library was staffed by the following volunteer librarians:
Mrs. M. Mealey, Mrs. L.C. Fryer, Mrs. L. Lundy, Mrs. G. Gosselin, Mrs. R. Race, Mrs. R. Books, Mrs. K. Hawthorne, Mrs. J. Michie, Mrs. D. McGregor, Sr., and Mrs. A. Brockman was the children’s librarian. Other volunteer librarians included Mrs. M Clearwater, Mrs. D. Sullivan, Mrs. M. Hagarty, Mrs. Pat Martin, Mrs. G. Terhune, Mrs. E. Woods, Mrs. Bruce and Mrs. W. Berard.
The Canadian Legion paid for one unit of books and many were donated. Also there was a book exchange with Northwestern Regional Library System at regular intervals. The library was also visited four times a year by the Thunder Bay Co-operative Bookmobile with an addition of 290 volumes, also filmstrips. This service continued until 1974.
In December of 1956, the library was moved to a larger room in the Community Centre where more shelves were installed and also tables and chairs. Many books were donated by interested citizens.
Certificates were awarded to Jessie Martinson, Ruth Bynkoski and Rosemary Laevens in 1972. They worked as volunteer librarians at this time. In February, 1971, new officers were elected: Mrs. Jessie Martinson, chairman; Mrs. Ruth Michie, secretary-treasurer. Mrs. Michie also held the position as head librarian. The library received a L.I.P. grant of one hundred dollars a week for twenty-one weeks. This is the first time the librarians received pay for their work. With the resignation of Mrs. R. Michie in December 31, 1972, Mrs. W. Berard was given the position of head librarian for 1973.
In September, 1973 a special committee was appointed to consult the Town council about relocating the library in a more central area. Officers for 1974 were Rosemary Laevens, Chairman; Jessie Martinson, Vice-Chairman; Ruth Bynkoski, secretary and Ruth Michie, treasurer. These positions were not affected until 1975 when Curtis Coons assumed the position as chairman and Vicky Coons as treasurer. Mr. John Scott took the position of chairman for 1978.
Library membership in 1976 increased by 117 to 470. Included in total membership were 150 members who resided outside the town of Rainy River. The library moved May 12, 1978 to the former Town Hall. Graduating from a one room operation in the Community Centre to three rooms in the new quarters, the library now has ample room for book display. It is impressive for a small town library. The air-conditioned and carpeted rooms are spacious and attractive.”