What Were They Reading?

It’s always interesting to see what people are reading…whether they’re famous or not-so-famous. But how about what our ancestors were reading? At the library, Shirley is compiling a great series called “What Were They Reading?” on the Carleton Place Local History Blog.


Find out what people in our community associated with our library’s history were reading back in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. Did they enjoy fiction? Historical non-fiction? Political books? The classics? Keep up with this fascinating series which begins    here.

Everything Old is New Again

Another wonderful display by the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum has transformed our library space once again. Jennifer dropped by and changed out the case with fascinating “new” objects you just need to stop and look at!  We always find these presentations to be so relevant and amazing…it’s hard to believe some of these objects sit in boxes, carefully preserved until Jennifer has a chance to use them again!


If you haven’t been to the library lately, stop by and take a few minutes to look in the big glass case. And bring the kids! There are plenty of wonderful items to look at a discuss. A great way to get in a little local history until the museum opens again!

We Remember

Over on our sister blog, Carleton Place Local History, there’s a great article about some local names that were left off the Carleton Place War Memorial. I think it’s fitting on this weekend which includes Remembrance Day, to understand that sometimes what we see is not everything there is to see. Please take a few minutes to read Shirley’s great article here!

Day at the Museum

Each summer, we plan a fabulous visit to the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum here in Carleton Place.  If you’ve never been, you’re missing out. For those who think local museums are stodgy old places filled with relics that you’re not really interested in, nothing could be further from the truth about this museum.  It’s a living, breathing, always-changing venue brought to life under the hard work of Jennifer Irwin and her staff. They never cease to amaze me with the interesting objects, photos and history they pull from a mass of boxes upstairs and place into the main part of the museum so that the public can enjoy their relevance. Great care is taken to preserve our history and you’d be wise to take an afternoon during the regular season to pop in and see what they have on display. With funding scarce when it comes to historical venues such as this, they might not be around forever.

Lucky for us, there is always a changing display on view at the library. The “museum people” drop in every so often wearing white gloves and carefully placing each object in the locked display cabinet. After, we often huddle around it to see just what gorgeous creation they’ve come up with, usually based on the current season. It’s a special part of our library and we think we’re very lucky to be able to have something like this available to our patrons.

For the entire month of November, Jennifer has graciously put together a wonderful collection of photographs in a series she calls “Carleton Place Then and Now” and we have them on display. There are amazing transformation photos showing buildings in our town as they once were, and as they are today. Believe me, there are some huge changes.  Drop by to see them up close and take a few minutes to compare the present and the past. 

A BIG thanks to Jennifer for the eye-catching display this month!

What’s Going to Happen?

As Library and Archives Canada continues to make cuts to their programs and even worse, continues to sell off their collections to private collectors (many which are outside Canada), libraries such as ours are getting worried. Seriously worried. What this means to our patrons hasn’t yet hit home, we’re afraid.

Essentially, while Library and Archives begins to make all of their documents digital, the hard copies won’t be available for access until the digital copies go online. That means, if you want to look at an archived newspaper, for example, until everything has been digitized (which could take years), you’ll have to go to Ottawa and view it at the Archives. We won’t be able to order it in to our library for you.  This is the same for anyone, country-wide, who wants to view a document.  So, if you live in Manitoba and are working on your family history, say, you’ll need to “pop over” to Ottawa to view that document you need to finally figure out where your Great-Aunt Martha settled in Eastern Ontario back in the day. This is a simplistic explanation, but you get the idea.

Now, Lisa Fitzgibbons,  Executive Director of the Documentary Organization of Canada, shares her thoughts on the matter. She believes we need a sustainable way to keep funding going to Library and Archives Canada in order to preserve our nation’s historical data and make it available to every Canadian Citizen, whether they live in a major city or a small town. Go, Lisa!