History of the Library

The Kaslo & District Public Library Association officially incorporated on December 18, 1920.

Before then, there were public reading rooms with budget activities recorded as early as 1897. A long-running advertisement in several 1898 editions of The Kaslo Morning News enticed people to move to Kaslo, “The City of Energy!” listing many services including public reading rooms.

The first location for the Kaslo library was in a janitor’s closet in the Kemball Building. In 1924, the library moved to the top floor of City Hall.

In 1953, Library Commissioner C.K. Morrison “toiled up the steep stairs leading to the top room of the …. tower of City Hall, [to find] a faithful and gracious ‘library lady’ still holding the fort.” He described the collection as “an unhappy conglomeration of moth-eaten books” and helped Kaslo to make a “fresh start” with a “new library board” and “money from the Public Library Commission, matched by a like amount by the City Council.” This funding made it possible for the library to purchase books and move to the main floor of City Hall, where it operated for the next 29 years. (from A Book Pedlar in British Columbia, p. 42)

In 1982, after major renovations led by a determined board with help from Katimavik youth volunteers, the Kaslo & District Public Library moved to the basement of City Hall. This space operated as the jail from 1898-1913 and then became a storage space for public works. It had a dirt floor when renovations began! This was not the only renovation challenge to overcome. Visit the Local History room to see some before and after pictures of the exterior. The Local History room was created in 2008 as part of a BC150 celebration project to open the 1898 “dark cell” to the public with interpretive panels of library and jail history.  Please drop by and enjoy!

In 2011, the library moved out of City Hall during renovations. This was the first time that the library had operated outside of City Hall since 1924. The community enjoyed the convenience of having their library on Front Street. The renovations completed by the Village in 2011 improved the lighting, wiring, heating (to geothermal), office workflow, wheelchair accessibility to the washroom, and fire safety with the addition of a fire suppression system. In 2013, with the help of generous donations and a grant, the library installed new automatic glass doors at the entrance.