The Stawell Library will celebrates 40 years at its present site serving the Stawell and district community on March 14th.
With a long and proud excellent service to Stawell and district residents dating back to 1858, the library model has evolved from a book lending service to a 'community lounge' around which the community grows, learns and communicates.
A morning tea will be hosted for the celebration on Thursday, March 12 and Friday, March 13 at 10am-12pm.
There will be special story time for the kids from 10.30am both days, and the chance to chat with staff about the future of the library service in Stawell.
History of the Library in Stawell.
1858 - Mechanic Institute founded. The Institute was twice damaged by fire - firstly in 1866, then 1874.
October 1947 - opening of the junior library founded and financed by a voluntary committee. This was located in the room currently occupied by Human and Community Care offices at the Town Hall.
October 1950 - the Borough of Stawell assumed the responsibility for the mechanics Institute Library which thus became a Municipal Library.
June 1951 - An establishment Grant of 600 pounds to be paid to the Borough of Stawell by the Free Library Service Board.
October 1951 - Junior Library was incorporated into the Municipal Library.
Throughout the 1950's, the Adult and Junior Libraries remained in separate premises. Adult subscriptions were still charged and the Municipal Library was administered by a committee comprised of Junior Library, Subscribers and the Council representatives. Regular book exchanges were conducted with the Ararat library and other assistance was received from the Ararat Librarian.
1957 - Shire of Stawell began contributing to the municipal Library
1959 - July - Appointment of a Librarian recommended by the Free Library Service Board.
June 1960 - Library shifted to a section of the Town Hall, which was occupied until 1980. This bought the Adult and Junior Libraries together.
September 1964 - All Charges and subscriptions ceased.
February 1966 - Municipal Library Committee recommended to the Town and Shire councils that the Draft Regional agreement be adopted.
1978 - Plans for a new library building were commenced under Librarian Bruce White and town Clerk Doug Hutton.
September 1978 - Mobile library services launched by Member Bruce Chamberlain, after 3 years of planning and seeking grants.
May 1979 - Concrete slab poured on the corner of Sloane and Patrick Streets to commence construction of new library building.
March 1980 - Victorian Premier, Mr. Dick Hamer officially opened the new Stawell Regional Library building, which contained space for the Dragon's Den Toy Library and the Mobile Library.
January 1981 - Miss Lynne Bonney appointed Librarian to replace Mr. Bruce White. Many children's services including holiday Activities were developed under the guidance of Miss Bonney with assistance of Library officer Gail Jeffrey who commenced at the library the same year. The Stawell Regional Library became the recipient of paintings donated by the Rotary Club from their annual Halls Gap Easter Art Show each year to be hung in the Library building.
1987 - Stawell Regional Library Trust is formed with the purpose of raising funds to subsidise diminishing state government funding for the Stawell Regional Library. Executers were Mr. Ian McCann and Mrs. Ruby Willy with seven Trustees appointed. (The Trust continues to exist, with donations continuing to be used to purchase items for the Stawell Library)
Library services provide other than book loans and reference enquiries from 1980 - 1993 included:
Mobile Library Service (a Ute towing a caravan)Housebound service, holiday activity programs, Jolly Jumbuck visits, video loans and exhibitions including Ararat Gallery Exhibits.
October 1993 - Stawell Regional Library discusses amalgamation with the Wimmera Regional Library Service after the resignation of Librarian Pam Robinson.
1994 - Stawell Regional Library becomes Stawell Library as part of the Wimmera Regional Library Corporation. The Mobile library service is updated with the WRLC prime mover, and semitrailer capacity library. Computerisation of the Library Issue system is developed. The card catalogue is replaced with an OPAC (online public access catalogue).
Biarri Genealogy Group took up residence in the library and commenced weekly meeting times with continuing development of equipment and expertise assisting the public with family history enquiries.
1998 - Computers made available for public use to access Internet and Word Processing programs. Internet guidance programs offered by the library staff for children.
2010's - Saw a shift in how libraries were utilised. In addition to regular book loans, early literacy programs, book clubs, school visits, home library deliveries, we saw the library become a community lounge. Somewhere for people to interact with others. Programs have been designed around social inclusion. Digital literacy and cybersafety became a priority, and exploring new ways for people to access their books - eResources. (Audio, eBooks) Assistance for those who were not familiar with the digital world increased.
Libraries are so much more than books.
July 2020 - A change in direction after a very successful 26 years with Wimmera Regional Library Corporation, will see the library continue to provide a high level of customer service and exploring new ways to meet the needs of the community as we come back under the Northern Grampians Shire Council umbrella.