The Timmins Public Library – originally known as the Timmins Free Public Library – was established in 1924, following a three year campaign initiated by Mr. C.S. Carter, principal of the Timmins Public School . Mr. Carter’s rationale for establishing a public library was simple, and direct: the town needed one in order to encourage a love of reading in its young people. Moreover, he added, (perhaps trying to foster a little competitiveness) smaller communities like Iroquois Falls or Cochrane were already planning to build libraries, and it would look badly on Timmins – a larger city and therefore, of greater need – if it had no such place of its own. Finally, as part of his argument, Mr. Carter addressed a particular concern, assuring town fathers that the Public School could be used to house the facility, leaving minimal expense for taxpayers.
Transforming Mr. Carter’s idea into an actual library, however, was a complicated alchemy: first, petitions were presented demonstrating the support of townspeople; a committee then set out to determine the feasibility of the project; the matter was put to a (restricted) vote; once the vote passed, a Library Board was then created as required by law to oversee all necessary steps in establishing the hoped-for library. Throughout the process, support for the library remained constant. A letter penned by “Bookworm”, printed in the Advance, reminded readers of the library’s importance by saying, “A man of one idea gets morose…Just as a man is in a greater or lesser degree known by the company he keeps, so a man or boy is known by the literature he reads…”
The Timmins Free Public Library was formally opened in the summer of 1924 (though by now plans had shifted and it would be located in the basement of the Gordon Block). Within its first week it would have a membership of 117, with 142 books signed out to patrons. By Christmas of that year, membership had increased to 849 people, a trend that would continue, prompting the library’s relocation to the basement of the post office in 1931. Two years later the library had a membership of more than four thousand. In 1938 the library moved for a third time, occupying the second floor of city hall; interest was still strong and the library staff endeavored to bring bibliophiles useful activities, such as classes in book repair. In 1960 the library moved yet again, assuming the ornate grey stone building that once housed the Post Office. It would remain there for approximately forty-four years, until the new facility was opened in September of 2005.
Today, the Library has over 45 public workstations, a training area with 10 workstations, multiple study rooms, meeting rooms and a 3D theatre. We provide access to 50+ databases and over 100,000 print and audio-visual material. Please enjoy your online visit, and do come in and experience our libraries. Both our branches are wheelchair accessible.
Our sister library, The C.M. Shields branch in South Porcupine, opened to the public in November 1967. It remains in its original location, with an active membership.