Images exhibition reveals comprehensive heritage of P.E.I.’s lots of libraries

Prince Edward Island has 25 libraries, and photographer Doug Dumais has explored all of them.

Circulations, his exhibition at the Charlottetown Library Learning Centre, shines a highlight on some of the Island’s lesser libraries.

He claims he set up for a few several hours in every single one particular, photographing the areas and chatting with the librarians about their histories.

The undertaking begun because Dumais wanted to locate out how P.E.I. ended up with so many libraries in these kinds of a little spot. 

‘A general public good’

“The Carnegie Corporation of New York was executing these pilot jobs of rural libraries,” Dumais reported in a recent interview with Island Morning’s Laura Chapin.

Fascination with the historical past of P.E.I. libraries led photographer Doug Dumais to produce his Circulations exhibit. (Jared Doyle)

“So there was a approach of placing libraries all across the United States, and they required form of a awesome house that they could check out these regional libraries.”

That place was Prince Edward Island.

In 1933, the corporation employed a librarian named Nora Bateson from McGill College. Her task was to set up a regional library program around a few several years.

“She would go to these communities and chat to women’s businesses, and type of garner support for libraries,” Dumais claimed.

He says a good deal of these libraries she helped set up at the beginning were in people’s households, or in offered spaces in the communities.

“She would drive all-around to the modest communities with a quite early automobile. You can envision in the ’30s, that she modified [the car] to hold 300 textbooks,” said Dumais.

When Bateson started, there ended up three libraries on P.E.I. By the conclusion of the three a long time, there were 22.

An image of computers at a library.
The images in the collection are styled to resemble reserve covers. (Gregory Ellison)

When she published her report on the job, it showed that individuals ended up using out hundreds of publications above a time period of several months, creating the plan a resounding achievement.

Bateson was a tireless winner of rural libraries. The Circulations exhibit contains a pamphlet Bateson released in 1944, identified as Rural Canada Desires Libraries.

“It was kind of like a manifesto for following the war, how essential these local community areas would be as we variety of rebuild what Canadian id appears to be like.… This thought that you have to present a community superior for your people today, and that is what democracy appears to be like, and that is a little something that should not be taken for granted,” said Dumais.

Exhibiting P.E.I.’s previous

Dumais likes photographing topics linked with transform: design web pages, shorelines and now libraries, for the reason that numerous of the Island’s libraries have shifted from small areas set aside in people’s homes to their personal properties, changing arms and contents above the years.

A series of photos over a library shelf.
The exhibit operates till May well 25. (Gregory Ellison)

“It’s up to communities nevertheless currently to present the spaces.… It could be an outdated P.E.I. Liquor locale like in Stratford, or it could be an outdated train station like in Alberton,” said Dumais.

He cherished touring the libraries, and he says it really is hard to decide on a favorite, but his is possibly the Alberton Community Library mainly because of that historic location.