#MHPLRocks: 105th Anniversary Celebration

Our beloved library turns 105 years old this year on Saturday, November 21st! Find out how you can help us celebrate and be entered to win a pandemic-approved prize.
Posted on 21 November 2020 by Gillian.

In a normal year, we would have invited you to the Library for cake and a fun event with games, prizes, and probably a photo booth (that's our go-to). But this isn't any normal year. So instead, we're celebrating our 105th Anniversary by giving away a pandemic-approved prize in exchange for your help to flood social media with photos of our great new visual identity. 

Our new icon is a set of interconnected honeycombs that represents our core service of connection - we connect people to other people, to places, to services, to education and entertainment resources - we're your connection to everything. This new icon can be seen on the brand new sign we just had installed on the exterior of our building! 

To celebrate our new look and our 105 years as a valued institution in Medicine Hat, we're holding a contest with a pandemic-approved prize. Read on for the details. 

What Can I Win?

I should have played to your psychological egoism and put this section right at the top but alas, here we are. Can I get a drum roll, please.....

How does a private movie night with your cohort in our theatre sound? Sounds pretty great in a year when social gatherings have been limited, right? That's what we thought. So, we'll find a mutually agreeable date/time to allow you and your cohort to have an after-hours private viewing of a film of your choice in our Library Theatre. You can bring snacks and, as long as you prearrange it with us, you can even bring your own alcoholic bevvies! The number of cohort guests that you can bring will be determined by the Government of Alberta gathering restrictions of the time

How Do I Enter?

Starting today on our anniversary (Saturday the 21st), stop by the Library to snap a selfie in front of our brand new exterior sign that features the icon you see above. Post your selfie on your own social media pages using the hashtag "MHPLrocks" and tag us (@MHPublicLibrary) and 105.3 ROCK (@1053rock). The more platforms you post it on, the more times your name is entered, so flood all your pages with the new library look! 

We're partnering with our friends at 105.3 ROCK because well, it just makes sense doesn't it? They're on 105. We are 105. You get it. 

A winner will be chosen on Friday, November 27 at noon. Good luck!

A Little Library History

If you're still reading this far you should really get a prize. We're not going to give you one. But we hope you find solace in knowing that we think you deserve one. So, how did the Library start? Like many businesses and organizations, we started small. The legacy of a library in Medicine Hat goes back before our time, all the way back to 1890 when a "Reading Room" was erected behind St. Barnabas Anglican Church. This lasted for a while but there were calls for a library open to the public, not just church parishioners. In 1914, the city passed a bylaw establishing a library board and initiating the creation of a library.

In November 1915 the Medicine Hat Public Library opened its doors in two rented rooms in the Huckvale Block. The library received a start-up grant of $500 from the city and $300 of that, along with books generously donated by Medicine Hat citizens, was used to establish that initial collection. 

The library grew rapidly, outgrowing the Huckvale Block and three other locations in quick succession. Finally the library moved to more stable quarters, the former Bank of Montreal building on the corner of 3rd Street and South Railway. During this time, services and space were extended to include a children's library, a meeting room, a film and music collection, and a teen room.

By the late 1950's, the library was occupying the full building and required more room for its collections and service. In 1964 the Library moved into the building that we occupy now, a beautiful location on First Street and Fourth Avenue, overlooking the South Saskatchewan River. In 1993 an expansion to this building was completed. The Children's Library moved upstairs to where it remains to this day and was sponsored by the Medicine Hat Kinsmen Club - a sponsorship that remains today with the repurchasing of naming rights in 2020. 

In 2017, the beloved Library Theatre was given a much needed upgrade. New seats were installed alongside accessible seating options, new AV equipment was purchased, a T-Loop was added to cater to the hearing impaired, and new paint and furnishings gave the space a refresh.

The start of 2020 saw the addition of the Co-op Community Developmental Play Space inside the Kinsmen Children’s Library. Thanks to generous funding through a Co-op Community Spaces Grant, children were given a space to grow their imaginations and learn through play.

And as mentioned above, another sizeable grant in 2020 from the Medicine Hat Kinsmen Club made it possible for the Children’s Library to get a much needed refresh with new carpet, paint, and furnishings. Another round of funding from the Kinsmen Club is slotted for 2021 which will be used to purchase new shelving and other pieces necessary to finish the space.

Today the Medicine Hat Public Library has grown into a 21st century library providing a wide variety of services to residents. MHPL offers a range of electronic services from eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines and eNewspapers to online learning classes and study help for students. Our staff run year round programs for all ages that fulfill our commitment to lifelong learning. MHPL also strives to take library services out into the community through programs such as Sunrise Rotary Ride the Road to Reading school program, to computer classes at Saamis Immigration and our speaker series Pecha Kucha Nights. But the physical heart of MHPL remains the library building on First Street.

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