Fonds 2009A040 - St. Jacobs Public Library fonds

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St. Jacobs Public Library fonds

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CA ON00247 2009A040

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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  • 1933-1971 (Creation)

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Physical description

30 cm of textual records 30 v. Binding of some volumes are fragile.

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Administrative history

The St. Jacobs Public Library was established in 1934 thanks in large part to the endowment fund of St. Jacobs resident Lola Snider. Lola left a sum of money in her will for her sisters, Ada and Amy Snider, to donate toward a charitable purpose in the community. Since Lola had loved books, her sisters decided that a library would be a wonderful way to remember her.

Ada and Amy invited three village trustees; Solomon Eby, Henry Ritter and Lincoln Hollinger, as well as other interested St. Jacobs citizens, to their home on August 7, 1933, to discuss the matter. The trustees were so intrigued with the idea of St. Jacobs having its own library that they decided to hold an open meeting at the Public School Hall, on August 31, 1933. As the meeting drew to a close, a unanimous vote decided that the village should accept the offer of a library.

The citizens of St. Jacobs were given a chance to have their say on September 29, 1933, at Winkler's Hall. The final vote resulted in 152 for the library and 2 against.

Once the village had permission for the project, they began considering locations. Two properties were considered. One was the corner lot on the main highway, where Good's Blacksmith Shop had been for forty years. The second one was one block off the main highway, on Queen Street. It was part of the old school property, which had been purchased by the village in 1929 with the intention of creating a park.

The village trustees felt that the quiet, peaceful Queen Street location, with its large shade trees, would be an ideal spot for a library. They decided to offer it to the Library Committee.

Kitchener architect B. A. Jones prepared the plans and Waterloo contractor Albert Heer carried out the work so expeditiously that the cornerstone was ready to be laid in the latter part of October.

On October 21, 1933, St. Jacobs villagers, including 110 schoolchildren, attended a ceremony to mark the laying of the cornerstone.

At the ceremony, Harry Brown, of Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate, gave a speech acknowledging the importance of the event. A box containing a Bible, a copy of Professor Drummond's great work " An exposition on the Thirteenth Chapter of Corinthians on Love", a copy of Mabel Dunham's "The Trail of the Conestoga", Brown's speech, the Rev. Mr. Yager's prayer, Mr. J. G. Hurst's address, a copy of the petition requesting permission to build the library, the history of the library to date, and a photo of Lola Snider, was enclosed in the cornerstone. Kitchener author and chief librarian of the Kitchener Library Mabel Dunham performed the ceremony of laying the cornerstone.

The next few months saw Kitchener architect B.A. Jones and Waterloo contractor Albert Heer working hard to complete the library.

June 2, 1934 was a proud day for St. Jacobs as the opening ceremonies for the St. Jacobs Public Library was held. Library Committee Chairman W.W. Snider presided. Ada Snider presented Solomon Eby, Chairman of the Village Trustees Board, with the deed to the library. The Village of St. Jacobs now owned a library.

Three days later, on June 5, the library opened to the public. On the shelves sat 1400 books selected by Mabel Dunham, waiting to be read. Edward Amos was the first of 236 St. Jacobs Public Library cardholders. On that June day, librarian Minerva Scheifele, who earned 25 cents an hour, lent out 85 books. In these early days, the library was open ten hours a week, Tuesdays and Saturdays, from 3:00-5:30 and 7:00-9:30.

On June 7, 1939, due largely to Amy Snider's efforts, the first story hour was held in the children's reading room with thirty-five children present.

In 1949 a special Librarians Course was held in the Kitchener Library from January 10 to March 4. Librarians from eleven of the smaller centres in the surrounding districts attended. Part of the course called for a visit to a small library. St. Jacobs Public Library was chosen for this honor. It was considered one of the most outstanding libraries among those being operated in smaller places in Ontario.

In 1967, the St. Jacobs Public Library Board was dissolved and the library became a branch of the County of Waterloo Library, which served the four townships of Woolwich, Wellesley, Wilmot, and North Dumfries. In 1973, Waterloo County was restructured to form the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. The Waterloo County Library became known as the Region of Waterloo Library. The St. Jacobs Public Library continues today as a branch of the Region of Waterloo Library.

Custodial history

Originally the records were stored in the St. Jacobs Branch of the Region of Waterloo Library. At an unknown date they were removed to the Region of Waterloo Library Administrative Headquarters.

Scope and content

The St. Jacobs Public Library fonds document the activities of the library and its librarians from 1933 to 1971. The fonds consists of membership books, cash books, bank books, invoice books and petty cash books, bills and receipts, annual reports and grant forms, miscellaneous correspondence, circulation registers and registers of books donated, purchased or disposed and the original 1933 building specifications. For the most part, this fonds was arranged according to the order in which it was received. Fonds is comprised of the following series:

St. Jacobs Library membsership books, 1934-1968
St. Jacobs Library financail records, 1934-1971
St. Jacobs Library administrative records, 1934-1968
St. Jacobs Library circulation and cataloguing records, 1934-1969
St. Jacobs Library building specifications, 1933
St. Jacobs Library Board minutes, 1934-1967

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Fonds acquired from the Region of Waterloo Library Administrative Headquarters in 2009.


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Restrictions on access

Some series and items are restricted from access due to fragility of the item, or because they are subject to the provisions of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Researchers are responsible for observing the terms of the Canadian Copyright Act. Permission of the Region of Waterloo Archives is required for any form of publication or exhibition.

Finding aids

A detailed finding aid is available in Archives Online, out descriptive database, at the following link:

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No further accruals are expected.

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