Posts tagged: Waterloo Public Library
The building is no longer in use as an open plan library, so inside it has been partitioned into office space. Since this my walk down memory lane, I’ve only photographed recognizable old library bits.
And I’d like to say “Thanks!” to the Habitat for Humanity folks for inviting me inside to take a few photographs.
The newer, lighter design of the stained glass window situated above the front door most probably dates back to the 1960’s. Certainly this wouldn’t have been put in when the former Carnegie Library building was in use as a police station.
The Albert Street Waterloo Public Library would probably have been the only place, outside of church, where I was exposed to decorative stained glass windows as a child.
When we went to the library, most often I would be deposited in the basement children’s section, but sometimes I got to go upstairs to the adult section with my Dad.
While Dad would do whatever it was he was there to do, he’d settle me at one of the grown up tables with a book containing pages and pages of Dennis the Menace cartoon strips.
Decorative wood mouldings like these, still found in the 40 Albert Street building today, were considered “old fashioned” in the concrete, glass and plastic worshipping 1960’s.
I’ve often wondered why I love the architecture of old buildings so much, since my early world was populated with a modern house, elementary school and church. Looking back now, I think the architecture of this library played a pretty big part.
I well remember this side entrance, because it led to the basement children’s section of the Albert Street Carnegie Library. I remember coming to the library at night with my dad.
There wasn’t a lot of money to spend on things like books in a large family like ours, so the public library was essential. Certainly for me.
I learned the name of my very first favourite author — Beatrix Potter — in this very building. Later, I bought and read her wonderful books to my own child.
I owe a lot to Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist,
who donated funds to build 2,509 Carnegie libraries, (125 of which were built in Canada, in the early 20th century.
Carnegie’s 1902 $10,000 donation made it possible to open the doors of the Waterloo Public Library on 44 Albert Street, Waterloo on November 1, 1905
Thanks Mr. Carnegie!
The United States National Gallery holds the original of this unattributed portrait of Andrew Carnegie that I’ve remixed to create this image (which is also, of course, in the public domain).
Carnegie borrowed books from the personal library of Colonel James Anderson, who opened the collection to his workers every Saturday.
In his autobiography, Carnegie credited Anderson with providing an opportunity for “working boys” (that some said should not be “entitled to books”) to acquire the knowledge to improve themselves.
Until I went back to visit it this year, I had no idea that the Waterloo Public Library we used to go to — my first library — was a Carnegie Library.