Library Moments: Tell Your Story #hcpl50

HL_50years_profileBessie Sullivan, County Librarian: Hello, I’m Bessie Sullivan from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

As of January 1st, 2015 Haliburton County Public Library was fifty years old.  There are four municipalities that make up Haliburton County, all of which have a history of libraries older than fifty years, but in 1964 county council made the decision to amalgamate the four municipal library systems into one.

As part of our recognition of the 50th anniversary we are collecting stories about what the public library means to you.

Today on Library Moments Sherrill Sherwood, Erin Kernohan-Berning and I will share our library stories with you:

stanhope branch

HCPL’s Stanhope Branch on North Shore Road.

Sherrill, Collections Development: The Stanhope branch of the Haliburton County Public Library holds a special place in my heart. When our two sons Rob and Ryan were little, I would take them weekly to the playground adjoining the library and then visit the branch to get a fresh supply of reading material.

We were always so excited to have new picture books to devour at night before bedtime. Those were fun hours at the library and we were always welcomed by longtime Branch Supervisor Marjorie Cowen. And then… settling down at the end of a day with one boy on each side, reading aloud to them, cuddled up and close – those are precious memories that I feel blessed to have.

Duke of Wellington statue outside the GoMA in Glasgow.

Visitors to the library at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow are greeted by a statue of the Duke of Wellington, regularly seen with a traffic cone on his head. Photo credit: Finlay McWalter.

Erin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian: I have a very vague and fuzzy memory of my first library experience, which would have been around 3 or 4 years old. I am told that this would have been at the Minden branch of the Haliburton County Public Library when it was in the old Sterling Bank building on Peck Street (which is now at the Cultural Centre as the Minden Hills Museum). I spent a great deal of time at the Minden branch where it sat in the earlier days of the Minden Hills Cultural Centre, watching the fish in Bev Wood’s fishtank and requesting interlibrary loans of books fitting my eclectic reading tastes. In both elementary and high school most of my free time was spent in the school library – it was a safe place where I could have some time with my thoughts and read.

When I was at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland I made sure to get a Glasgow Library card and visited the branch in the basement of the Gallery of Modern Art where I could spend some much needed downtime with a coffee and a book. When I went to school at Western in London, Ontario, I watched President Obama’s inauguration in the theatre at London Public Library’s Central Branch. London Public also has a massive genealogy collection, and some Kernohan family history can be found there. I also spent a lot of time holed up in academic libraries, often finding a quiet place on an upper floor to study with a view of whatever campus I was at. When I look back, in every phase of my life the library has featured prominently – it’s no wonder I eventually became a librarian!

Inside the Sydenham branch of KFPL. Photo courtesy of Patti Enright.

Inside the Sydenham branch of KFPL.
Photo courtesy of Patti Enright.

Bessie: I grew up using both the Kingston Public Library and the Frontenac County Library (the two have since amalgamated into the Kingston Frontenac Public Library), library membership was essential for both leisure reading and school research.

Every time I move to a new area the first order of business is a library card, my mother used to send me postcards so that I would have proof of address.  My public library needs have changed over the years, but never have I been without a membership.

Now here in Haliburton County I use our public library for downloads of e-books and for novels in print.  I read 100 books a year and cannot imagine life without books.  I know I sound biased, but the collection here is excellent and it is very rare that our library doesn’t have the book I want.

For over sixteen years I have made my living working in public libraries, I don’t think I could have stuck to it if I didn’t love public libraries and what they do for their communities.

Please tell us your story.  We will posting to our blog every week and we will be compiling a booklet of all the stories.  Your story can be sent to, submitted online through our website, or by filling out a form found at any of the eight branches of the library. Thank you for listening to Library Moments here on 100.9 CANOE FM.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM, Feburary 1st – 7th, 2015.


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