History of the Library
The Lillooet Area Library Association was established in 1990, after a separation from the Thompson Nicola Regional District library services. It currently operates three branches in Lillooet, Gold Bridge and Shalalth (Bridge River Power Site) serving people of the the six Northern St’át’imc communities: T’it’q’et, Ts’al’áh, Se’kelwas, Xwisten, Xaxli’p and Ts’k’way’laxw, the District of Lillooet, and Squamish Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) Areas A and B. LALA programs have always targeted literacy skill building for the pre-school children in our communities and since 2008 we have offered literacy support for adults.
Pictures on this page have been taken from scrapbooks created by Sheila Simpson during her time serving as Chief Librarian.
Some writing below are excerpts from “Short Bio of the Lillooet Library”.
On April 4th, 1973, a group of fifteen library lovers met to discuss the type of library Lillooet needed. Subjects were to include reference books and children’s and adults fiction. By November of the same year – the library was staffed by volunteers that kept it open for 42 hours a week.
The library made a presentation to the SLRD to receive funding to provide service to Lillooet, Gold Bridge, Pavilion, Bridge River, Seton, Shalalth, Texas Creek, and the Hop Farm.
The Lillooet Library joined the Thompson Nicola Library System.
A new home for the library was approved and the Lillooet Library moved to a building on Main Street. A leaky roof plagued the library users until 1984 when repairs were finally complete.
The library board made a decision to break with the CTN library system and move into the REC center where they could have the library for little to no rent.
The very last public library association was formed in 1990 – the Lillooet Area Library Association. This was also the year that the Lillooet REC center burned to the ground and the entire collection was lost. Hordes of donated books were sent to another building in Lillooet, where the one month trained branch librarian – Stephanie Greenman – was tasked with cataloging everything by hand.
The doors re-opened in the newly constructed REC center. This is the spot the Lillooet branch is still located today.
The decision was made to barcode the entire library collection. This took the better part of the year and interlibrary loans were paused while the equipment was used for this project.
During the popular Summer Reading Program – numbers hit a record high with over 300 attendees! The youth and computer program continues – and two students arrive to help develop the Library Internet Home Page.
The Lillooet Library is recognized in the Feliciter for their commitment to promoting early childhood reading skills, internet training, and developing a local First Nations collection.
The library started the Home Library Service – so any residents who were confined to their homes continued to have access to the library. Volunteers would bring patrons books, magazines, movies on DVD and books or music on CDs.
The Lillooet Area Library Association receives significant funding from the province in addition to their annual operating budget. This is to give more flexibility to address local priorities, including longer hours, bigger digital collections and better access to literacy and lifelong learning opportunities.
Know the names of your librarians