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Looking Back: Books and Haircuts,

Looking Back: Books and Haircuts

Books and Hair Cuts – What do they have in common?

Looking back article from March 2019

In February we had a Facebook request for the history of the first library in Pitt Meadows and the ensuing article was very well received by those visiting our site – and here it is again for those of you who don’t use social media, or for those who do but have not made it to our Facebook site.

Pitt Meadows has had a library of some sort for a very long time. The original library, established by the Pitt Meadows Women’s Institute shortly after they formed in 1921, was located at the first municipal hall on Harris Road, and by 1929 the ladies of the Institute had managed to purchase 93 books.  In 1930 the Fraser Valley Public Library had formed and then immediately established a library van system (the Bookmobile) that started visiting Pitt Meadows in February 1931, parking outside the building we now call today the Heritage Hall.  One Museum visitor told us several years ago she remembers calling the van driver of the late 1950’s “Herman Sherman”, and by this time the van came and went via Ford Road and would stop at various houses along the way including having tea with one family from “around the bog”.

In 1932, with regular visits of the van, the Institute turned to donating money to the local school district for establishing libraries in schools, and, when the group dissolved in 1965, they eventually gave most of their funds to School District 42 in order to purchase reference books for the relatively new Pitt Meadows Secondary School.  By 1970c a small library was established in a little house on a site just to the south of what is now 122nd Avenue and just to the north of what is now the municipal hall site. At first, the library was open 11 hours per week and had only 430 square feet of space as it had to share the building with a barber shop – Pete’s Place.  2,000 books were on the shelves and by 1971 annual circulation was 8,500.  In 1978 Pete vacated his premises, allowing the library to more than double its size to 1,000 square feet and operated for 24 hours per week.  In October 1988 a new library opened in what is now used as a city hall annex, with a floor space of 7,500 square feet, 39 open hours per week, and a collection of more than 20,000 books. This library continued in use until February 15th, 2012 when it closed it doors for the last time.  On February 29th of the same year the doors opened at the newest library at the corner of Harris and 122nd Avenue.


Leslie Norman, Curator at the Pitt Meadows Museum