Exeter Public Library

330 Main Street, Box 609
EXETER, Ontario  N0M 1S6
519.235.1890

Our display for Doors Open will include models of airplanes related to the Centralia Flight School in the children’s area. There will also be “make and take” airplane crafts for all ages of children. The adult reading area will include a display dedicated to the War of 1812. The glass case in the foyer will feature library history and photographs.

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The Exeter Public Library is an accessible facility that provides computers for public access to the internet and library resources, a separate children’s room, an adult reading area, programs for all ages of children, author visits, social teas, book clubs, downloadable e-books, movies, electronic games, and, of course, books.

History of the Exeter Library

In 1878, Taman’s Store (401 Main Street) housed Exeter’s earliest library, a Mechanics’ Institute. Ten years later, the library and reading room could be found in the two lower rooms of the Town Hall. This is where it remained until construction of the Carnegie Library was completed. in 1915

Numerous Carnegie Libraries were being built during this era. Carnegie generously offered to grant money to build the community a library as long as an appropriate piece of land could be provided. As well, 10% of the grant amount had to be spent annually on the library’s maintenance. In December of 1913, the Exeter Library Board resolved to offer Mrs. Bawden $1,100 for her property on Main Street. In January of 1914, an agreement was signed and W.A. mahoney was requested to submit architectural plans. Altogether, Carnegie granted the library $8,000 and in 1915 the building was completed.

The Librarian, Mr. James Connor, was paid $200 a year. The basement fulfilled a number of functions in the early years. Sometimes it was used as a teaching place for the Exeter Public School. As well it was a reading room or was sometimes used for “legitimate” business meetings. During the Second World War, it was used primarily by the Red Cross.
In March of 1935, the library joined the Ontario Library Association. In October of 1941, the Exeter Public Library was represented at the initial meeting of the Huron County Library Association. It joined for an annual fee of $25 and remained a member until 1952. It joined again in 1958 for adult books only. The war years put constraints on the library and in October of 1943, it was decided that the library should be closed on Friday afternoons in order to conserve fuel.

A new component was added to the library in April of 1956 when it became the storehouse of the films and a projector of the National Film Board. As well, the Board decided to undertake microfilming the local newspaper along with the Times-Advocate which would share the cost. The University of Western Ontario also eventually purchased into the endeavour. A microfilm machine was bought in 1962 for $260 and in 1965 a children’s storyhour was started.

In February 2000, Town Council announced the hiring of architect Terry Marklevitz to design a new library building. The Carnegie library was demolished in September of 2000, and the library moved to temporary quarters in the former Canadian Tire building at the south end of Exeter. The new library was built at a cost of just over $1.4 million dollars. The Exeter Branch Library was opened on December 7, 2002.

The current library is an accessible facility that provides computers for public access to the internet and library resources, a separate children’s room, an adult reading area, programs for all ages of children, author visits, social teas, book clubs, downloadable e-books, movies, electronic games, and, of course, books.

Exeter Library Supervisors

Mr. Kemp 1898
Miss Mabel Kemp 1898-1907
Mr. James Connor 1907-1923
Miss Grace Connor 1923-1925
Mrs. Mary E. Howard      (Mrs. M.E. Gidley) 1925-1946
Miss Rita Howes     (Mrs. Smith) 1946-1952
Mrs. Hilton Laing 1952-1966
Mrs. Florence Hendrick 1966-1968
Mrs. Elizabeth Schroeder 1968-1982
Mrs. Helen Hodgins 1982-2004
Mrs. Jane Hundey 2004-June 2012
Mrs. Jennifer Boles June 2012-present

(Adapted and updated from “Huron County Library History: 50 Years of Service” by Mary-Theresa Sloan and Nisa Howe)

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