The Canmore Public Library was established in 1971. Since then we have moved several times, to continue to serve our growing community. We are currently located at 101-700 Railway Avenue, in Elevation Place.
On December 18, 1970, an Australian woman named Margaret Tootell wrote to the Town of Canmore expressing an interest in setting up a library and museum in the town.
Margaret had fallen in love with Canada as a young girl while reading L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. Her love of Canada grew over the years as she collected more and more books on Canada, and eventually she was able to visit Canada first hand. "I fell in love with your wonderful country - - especially the Canadian Rockies." In her letter, she wrote that her desire was to relocate to the Canadian Rockies, and open a library using her personal collection and leave it all in trust to the town and the townspeople of Canmore to be carried on for generations.
Although her offer was not taken up, it was her letter that started Town Council on the way to establishing the Canmore Public Library. A Library Board was appointed in March of 1971, and in August of that year, Town By-Law 96 was passed, providing for the establishment of a municipal library.
The library's first location, opening in December, 1971 was in the basement of the Roman Catholic Church Hall. However, the cold basement and dangerous stairs prompted the Library Board to request a new space for the library. Shortly thereafter, the collection was moved to the Town Office and Fire Hall building, where it remained until the opening of the Policeman's Creek Centre in December of 1979.
16 years later the library moved into a renovated liquor store at its location on 8th Avenue, marking the occasion with a grand opening celebration in January 1996. The library remained there until making its move into its current home in Elevation Place in 2013.
When the library first opened in 1971, it started with a collection of 500 used books stored on two donated shelves. It was open 8 hours a week and run solely by volunteers. Many years and several moves later, the library is now housed in a custom-built space over 11,000 ft2, has a collection over 66,000 items and more than 20 staff.
The library celebrated its 50th birthday in August of 2021. In honour of this milestone, the library organized a community time capsule to be opened on its 100th birthday in 2071.