South Interlake Regional Library
Teulon’s commitment to its library goes way back to 1953 when the Women’s Institute of Teulon started bringing in books by train from the University of Manitoba. They created a mini library at the Agricultural Office in town. When it was time to return the books, the Women’s Institute volunteers would go door to door to retrieve any books that had not been returned, crate them, and then ship them by rail back to Winnipeg. The Women’s Institute was so effective in managing the library that in 26 years only one book was lost.
In 1980 the library was given a room in the Teulon Collegiate and finally, in 1989, Teulon got its own stand-alone library. It has been going strong since then in a wonderful location right across from Teulon’s elementary school, with 2,624 square feet of beautiful, well-lit space. In 1954 the library had 28 members and today it has 1,008 members and a collection of 19,863 books. It also maintains strong partnerships across the community, including with the schools, Teulon’s Green Acres Arts Centre, the local daycares, the seniors’ centres, the churches and the Lions Club.
Teulon Library is more than just a library, rather it is really the community’s living room and it works to provide that comforting service to all of its patrons. There are places to gather, workshops to attend, programs to partake in, things to be learned, and, most of all, its a safe space in our town. For the over 1,200 patrons that visit it each month. Not only do members borrow books, but they also can use the free high-speed internet and use the space for community meetings and gatherings – the monthly program and activity calendar is packed with events and activities every month for all ages. The space also features the work of talented local artists each month. Folks who used the library when they were children, then brought their children, who in turn are now bringing their children.
While the inside of the space is well-loved, the community wants to spruce up the outside of the library to offer even more to the community. While there is room inside for programming, the Library often has to limit the number of participants because of space restrictions. If the community could also host these activities outside, they could have more people at once during busy seasons, with nobody left out. The community hopes to develop a shaded area with a privacy fence, a pergola over top, fresh flowers and shrubs in planter boxes, storage benches, and tables and seating for workshops and activities. Apart from the many programs, people could just enjoy the spot with their friends, or stop by to eat their lunch, or sit comfortably outside and read after they check out their books. Finally, there is a simple sustainability initiative for the interior to replace the old fluorescents with LED bulbs to reduce energy use throughout the year.
Their Story Now
“The new LED lights are in! It is so much brighter in the library. The many folks who are coming out to our craft nights really notice the positive difference the lights make. And we are looking forward to lower electricity bills and the restful sleep that comes from knowing we are doing a little something more for the environment.” – Clint Curle, South Interlake Regional Library Director