Title and statement of responsibility area
Guelph Public Library fonds
General material designation
Other title information
Title statements of responsibility
Level of description
Edition statement of responsibility
Class of material specific details area
Statement of scale (cartographic)
Statement of projection (cartographic)
Statement of coordinates (cartographic)
Statement of scale (architectural)
Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
1850-2019 predominant 1904-1983 (Creation)
- Guelph Public Library
Physical description area
3.0 m of textual records
ca. 1200 photographs
3 audio cassettes
4 audio reels
2 rolls of architectural plans
Publisher's series area
Title proper of publisher's series
Parallel titles of publisher's series
Other title information of publisher's series
Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series
Numbering within publisher's series
Note on publisher's series
Archival description area
Name of creator
The first circulating library in Guelph appeared in the rear of the general store operated by one of the city's early merchants, Thomas Sandilands, in 1832. For more than fifteen years, this small collection of books remained the closest thing to a public library in Guelph. On January 14, 1850, a number of local citizens met for the purpose of organizing a Farmers' and Mechanics' Institute in Guelph. Within a few months, a library was collected and a reading room was opened for the use of the members. In addition to the operation of a lending library, the objective of the Guelph Farmers' and Mechanics' Institute was to encourage the diffusion of knowledge among its members through the delivery of lectures and instruction in reading.
With the passage of the Free Libraries Act in 1882, Guelph became one of the first communities in Ontario to take advantage of the Act's provisions to establish a public library supported by local taxes. In 1883, the Guelph Free Public Library was founded. The Mechanics' Institute agreed to transfer its holdings and jurisdiction to the new Board of Management of the Guelph Free Public Library on March 15, 1883. The new library occupied premises adjacent to the former City Hall building until 1905. As the library grew and services expanded, a new facility was needed.
The City of Guelph was one of the first North American municipalities to receive a grant from the Carnegie Foundation, a philanthropic charity of American steel magnate, Andrew Carnegie, to build a new library. When the new Carnegie Library was completed in 1905, the Guelph Public Library moved to its present location at the corner of Norfolk and Paisley Streets.
The Carnegie building, though beautiful, proved too small for Guelph's growing population. In 1964, the Carnegie Library was demolished and, after months in a temporary residence, the current main library opened its doors in November of 1965. A new addition to the main library building was completed in 1975.
The Guelph Public Library continued to grow in order to meet the demands of the City's physical expansion and growth in population. During the late 70's and early 80's, a traveling bookmobile and two satellite branches were added, providing citizens with neighbourhood libraries where they could easily browse for reading material. A third branch in the West End was completed in 2001. Further growth in the City's south end resulted in a fourth branch, Westminster Square, located at 100-31 Farley Drive which opened in November 2006. A fifth branch, the East Side Branch, opened in May 2010.
With the addition of the virtual library, the Guelph Public Library is fulfilling its mission to serve the changing needs of the local population by becoming a gateway to the information networks of the world.
These records were held throughout the Guelph Public Library and centralized in its archives in the late 1970's. The Guelph Public Library makes regular transfers of its records to the archives.
Scope and content
This fonds consists of the executive, administrative, public service, collections management and facilities records created or accumulated the Guelph Public Library Board, the Guelph Public Library, and its predecessor, the Farmers' and Mechanics' Institute of Guelph. The records document the administration and operation of the Library and its provision of library services to the Guelph public.
This fonds is arranged into nine series.
Immediate source of acquisition
The records of the Guelph Public Library are transferred regularly into its archives.
Language of material
Script of material
Location of originals
Availability of other formats
Restrictions on access
Access to some records in this fonds is restricted. See series descriptions for more details.
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Donor-held copyright in these records has been transferred to the Guelph Public Library. Permission of the Guelph Public Library is required for publication.
See series descriptions for more details on available listings for these records.
Further accruals of records are expected.