History of the Selwyn Public Library

The Selwyn Public Library system consists of three locations working together, and sharing collections and staff to provide library services to the residents of the township and the surrounding area. With locations in Bridgenorth, Ennismore and Lakefield, we are able to provide service within a reasonable driving distance for all residents of our township.

The Lakefield Library enjoys the longest history and originally started as a Mechanics Institute in 1891. In 1895, the library received its first Legislative Grant from the Ontario Government, becoming the Lakefield Public Library. A library has operated continually since that time in several different locations within the village including the main floor of Memorial Hall (1921), and the upper level of the Memorial Hall (1967), until finally moving to the current location in 1993 after a tremendous amount of planning, fundraising and community effort.

The Ennismore Library started in 1970 as a demonstration library sponsored by the Lake Ontario Regional System. Due to the positive response from the community, the library was incorporated into the Township in 1971. From 1974 the library was located in the old Ennismore Municipal Office on Tara Road. In 1982, the Library moved to its present site in a new building located in the Robert Young Complex . Built with financial support from the province, the township and the public, the library continues to have a distinctive presence in the community.

The Bridgenorth Library grew out of a small book club and a non-operating Library Board. Originally started in a church basement and staffed by Lakefield Library staff, the demand in the community continued to grow, and in 1974 the Library moved to the rear of the Chemung Medical Centre. Staffed by volunteers from the community, the library soon expanded with a move to a main Ward Street location. Over the years, two building expansions took place at that location; however, with ever increasing demands, the library eventually outgrew that space as well. In 2009, the Bridgenorth Library moved to its current location on Charles Street, next to the elementary school, in a new joint facility housing both the library and a Community Hall.

Amalgamation in 1998 between Smith and Ennismore linked those two libraries, and then in 2001, a second amalgamation joined Lakefield and Smith-Ennismore to become the Smith-Ennismore-Lakefield Public Library. With the township name change in 2013, we became the Selwyn Public Library.

Although each library originated very differently, a common element to all is the ongoing support over the years demonstrated by the local communities for each of the libraries. From community fundraising for new expanded buildings to volunteer support to work in the libraries, the residents have shown their love for the library. Still today, with the two new-to-you fundraising stores and the large contingent of volunteers, the community continues to actively support and ensure that the Selwyn Public Library remains a significant presence in the township.

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