Killarney Library opened September 3, 1959(Lakeland Regional Library) in the renovated building which had served as one of the early Post Office buildings. Prior to 1959, books were circulated through private collections in homes, through limited services offered by schools, church libraries, and through temporary services such as the WI collection operated by volunteers in the Legion Hall.
Miss Marjorie Morley, the provincial librarian and the director of Library Services was responsible for much of the planning. She attended the Killarney Fair in promotion of the project and advised the board on numerous details from the recommended use of the $10,000 establishment grant.
Serving the first board were; Chairman: Councillor Les Grinnell, Vice-Chairman: Mayor Victor David, Secretary-Treasurer: Councillor John Bate, who with Reeve Alex Cochrane, Mrs Albert Dingwall and Mrs Ella Early finalized the decisions and promotions for the library.
During the 14 years Mr. Grinnell was Chairman, three branch libraries were opened: in 1965 the Glenboro Branch, in 1966 the Pilot Mound branch, in 1972 the Cartwright branch. Services were withdrawn from Glenboro at the close of 1978.
The Library had outgrown its location by 1974 and was relocated one block south in the former Samaritan Hall. During the term that Councillor Larry Smith served as Chairman, the present library quarters took on a new appearance with freshly draped windows, red carpeted floors, additional stacks and equipment.
In the mid 1980s, library funding was still relatively inadequate with an annual book purchasing budget of around $5,000. Over the years gradual increases from both the provincial government and our local participating municipalities brought much needed revenues to allow our book budget to reach over $20,000 annually. As the old adage goes "If you build it, they will come", and so a larger, more current and diverse book collection has assured that our library is a well-used and appreciated service to our community. From an average of 40 people taking out 113 books per day back in 1988, we now boast and average of over 90 people borrowing over 350 books per day.
Computerization of library services began with the purchase of our first computer in 1995 provided through a Manitoba Community Services grant. Over the next year or so we worked very hard to enter all the data required to convert over to a computerized system. This was finally completed in the spring of 1997, and after a few shaky months on a learning curve it soon became apparent what a work saving device this was.
Providing resource sharing is always an economically prudent decision and the interlibrary loan of books among our Manitoba Public Libraries is an excellent example. Computerization and Internet access has turned this into an amazingly efficient service. The development of fILL, an online catalogue of all library holdings province wide, has reduced waiting times.
In 1996 we were first able to offer public internet access, through computers provided by the CAP program, Community Connections, jointly funded by the Federal and Provincial governments. It truly made small public libraries become the information centers of so many rural communities. Currently in 2018 we have 4 public access computers that are funded through a technology grant as well as an anonymous donor. Still the computers are fairly busy especially in the summer with tourists.
In 2006 the Federal government implemented a biweekly visit by a Service Canada representative. Two days a month they are available to assist interested people with the understanding of various government services and programs such as passport applications and E.I questions. We still enjoy this service today.
In the early 1980s Lakeland Regional Library provided services here for Killarney and the R.M. of Turtle Mountain residents, as well as our two branch libraries situated in Cartwright and Pilot Mound. We continue to serve the citizens of Cartwright-Roblin through the branch library in Cartwright. The branch in Pilot Mound closed at the end of 2001 however they continue on as a community library.
The Lakeland Regional Library has had five head librarians during its existence and is currently on its sixth. Jewell McCausland was the head librarian from open in 1959 until her retirement in 1987. Lil Hysop a long time employee took over and was head librarian until her retirement in 1997. Carol Chapman took over as head library administrator until her retirement in 2006. Gloria Kinley then took over as head library administrator until her half-retirement July 2015 when she moved to part-time and assistant library administrator. Valerie Bull became head library administrator from July 2015 to April 2018. Finally Krista Law joined the library in April 2018 to take over from Val as Library Administrator. Bonnie Kroeker started working at the library in 1999 and continues to work as a library clerk. Stacey Shackel joined in December 2017as the assistant library administrator sharing the job with Gloria Kinley.
The success of the library hinges on the understanding and support given by the library board. We have been fortunate to have so many community members who have freely given their time as board trustees throughout the years.
The library continues to provide a wide variety of materials and services. In the early 1980s they started providing books to local seniors by taking monthly shipments to various senior homes. Currently we still do this and have seniors signed up from Bayside Personal Care Home, Lakeview Gardens and the Royal Manor. Every three weeks we take each senior signed up a personal selection of books that we think they might like to read. Throughout the years thousands of dollars provided by the Killarney Foundation as well as individual donors have been used to purchase large print books and audiobooks.
Adapted from articles in the Reflections and More Reflections history books
Chairperson - Gwen MacTavish
Treasurer - Joan Kemp
Killarney/Turtle Mountain Municipality - Joan Kemp
Cartwright/Roblin Municipality - Vic Hildebrand
Member at large - Terry Vincent
Library Administrator - Krista Law
Assistant Administrators - Gloria Kinley/Stacey Shackel
Library Clerk - Bonnie Kroeker
Cartwright Branch Librarian - Andrea Trembath
Rose Bateman, Cheryl Nichol, Janice Sylvester