Winnipeg Public Library, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

1924 Winnipeg Public Lending Department and Non-Fiction Library Cards No. 22501 Issued to Robert Walls

1924 Winnipeg Public Library, Lending Department Library Card No. 22501,
issued to Robert Walls (front)
1924 Winnipeg Public Library, Lending Department Library Card No. 22501,
issued to Robert Walls (back)
1924 Winnipeg Public Library, Non-Fiction Library Card No. 22501,
issued to Robert Walls (front)
1924 Winnipeg Public Library, Non-Fiction Library Card No. 22501,
issued to Robert Walls (back

Winnipeg Public Library, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Winnepeg Public Library (Public Domain, Pre-1923 Postcard)

The Winnipeg Public Library had its beginning as a circulating library at the Historical and Scientific Society of Manitoba. In 1888, due to the disabling costs of maintaining their library, the Society transferred their 3,000 volume circulating library to the city and was renamed The City Library.  It was the intent of the Society for the transfer to become “the nucleus” for a new public library [from The Historical and Scientific Society of Manitoba Annual Report published 1888, p. 8].

Contrary to local gossip, it was not a free library. A news article in the Manitoba Free Press on February 25, 1888, sought to dispel the rumor, stating that the new library would continue to charge a $2 yearly membership fee to use the library. 

In July 1901, Andrew Carnegie Corporation began negotiations with the city of Winnipeg to fund a new library building. Conditions for funding a new library building were that the city would purchase a suitable site for the library and guarantee annual upkeep at a sum equal to 10% of the amount donated by the Corporation.  By August 1902, the city purchased a site at William and Dagmar Streets for $12,200.  In early November 1902, the Corporation released the funds for building the library, and on November 22, 1902, through an announcement in local newspapers, local architects were invited to submit designs for the new library.  In July 1903, Architect Samuel Hooper, and builders Smith & Sharpe were chosen for the tasks.  

On November 3, 1903, Sir Daniel McMillan (1846-1933), Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba, laid the library cornerstone, and on October 13, 1905, the library opened to the public.

In 1977, the Centennial Library (now known as the Millennium Library) was built at 251 Donald Street and the Carnegie building became a branch library, and subsequently, the City of Winnipeg Archives in 1995.  In 2013, the city began renovations to the Carnegie building, but due to serious damage sustained during a heavy rainstorm, the renovations were halted and the archive collections relocated.  The building currently stands empty and its future is unknown.