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The Little Library That Could: The Queensville Public Library

Most people are not aware of this, but there used to be a library branch right in Queensville. Where is the place in East Gwillimbury where you can you find it today? Read on and find out!

The Queensville Public Library was first formed in 1890, although the location of the original library is vague and not well known. In 1893, the library was opened in a shop that was owned by Wright Fogg. This library later moved into a tiny building that was located on the east side of Leslie Street, south of Queensville Sideroad, across from the Queensville United Church. Built in 1870, the building was originally a bank, and then it became a bake shop before finally becoming the Queensville Public Library.

Figure 1: Original location of the Queensville Public Library, on Leslie Street, south of Queensville Sideroad, c. 1950's. From Glady Rolling's East Gwillimbury in the 19th Century.

Attendance at the Queensville Public Library started to decline in the 1960’s. The small library housed about 2,500 books in 1968. The building was heated by a wood stove in the wintertime which barely did the job of keeping the librarians warm. It received an annual township grant “of $200 and one from the village of $100”.[1] That year, they had to double the membership fee for the library to $1 for adults and 50 cents for children. In December 1974, the East Gwillimbury Public Library was created through a Town By-law and the first members of the Board were appointed starting on January 1st. In 1975, the Mount Albert and Queensville Public Library branches were dissolved and became branches of the East Gwillimbury Public Library.

The following year, the Queensville Public Library was moved to a new location with “larger quarters with room for magazines, reading in the new Community Centre”.[2] The previous 12-by-19-foot library that was closed by the Library board was offered to the York Pioneer and Historical Society to be used at the Sharon Temple. It cost the York Pioneers $700 to move the building to the Sharon Temple.[3] it is now used as the entrance, or gatehouse into the grounds of the Sharon Temple. However, the Queensville branch of the Library closed in 1992 due to budget cuts.

Figure 2: Moving the Queensville Public Library to the Sharon Temple, May 1977.

Do you think we need another library branch like the one that was in Queensville? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below?

[1] Steen, Dave, (23 October 1968). “York’s libraries poor: experts”. In The Newmarket Era. Page 5. Retrieved from [2] Thompson, Irene, (2 Feb 1977). “Mrs. Frank Kavanagh buried at Queensville”. In The Newmarket Era. Page 7. Retrieved from [3] Herman, Wendy (May 6, 1977). “107-year-old Queensville Library is trucked to Sharon Temple”. The Toronto Star.

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