Windsor Public Library

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Windsor Public Library
Established 1894
Location 850 Ouellette Avenue, Windsor, Ontario N9A 4M9
Branches 9
Items collected business directories, phone books, maps, government publications, books, periodicals, genealogy, local history,
Access and use
Population served 200,000
Other information
Director Kathleen "Kitty" Pope, CEO

Windsor Public Library is a library in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. It has nine branches and serves the city of Windsor through Children's, Young Adult, and Adult programs, services and collections. Its main branch is on Ouelette Avenue.


  • Information and reference services
  • Access to full text databases
  • Community information
  • Internet access
  • Reader's advisory services
  • Programs for children, youth and adults
  • Delivery to homebound individuals
  • Interlibrary loan
  • Free downloadable audiobooks


The year of 1894 marked the opening of Windsor's first free public library which was located in Lambie's Hall in the building that now stands as the former Windsor Star building.[1] After one year of operation the library had 5,245 volumes available to the public.[2] This library remained Windsor’s sole library until the turn of the century when discussion began that the Lambie Hall Library was inadequate for the people of Windsor. On July 25, 1900 a formal request was placed to Andrew Carnegie to help establish a new library which would be up to date and would have the means to accommodate the people of Windsor.[3] A $20,000 donation was received and a site was selected to begin the process of erecting Windsor’s new library. The library was set to be built at the corner of Park and Victoria.[1] Once construction began, it became clear that $20,000 was not a large enough budget and in June and July 1902, Mr. Carnegie took it upon himself to give a further $7000 towards the project.[4] Windsor’s Carnegie Library officially opened its doors to the public on October 16, 1903. This library soon became the city's main reference library due to its vast collection of materials.[5]

Again, Windsor came across the same problem which it had encountered before; as time passed, the library quickly became inadequate for the needs of the city. Built when Windsor had a population of 13,400 it was a revolutionary building which could serve up to 100,000 people, but by 1945 the population had almost reached 120,000.[5] The quality of service that the Carnegie Library was able to offer was dwindling but the city was unable to make a change in location at this point.

In 1965, a proposal for the construction of a new downtown library was made that would cost $1,692,000.[6] As Dennis B. Atkinson wrote to the Windsor Star in 1966, "It is a disgrace that a city the size of Windsor should have to struggle along with such a poor, out-of-date and cramped library."[7] Though changes had been made to Carnegie Library in 1969 to improve accessibility to the building, provide extended hours, abolish some fees that had been put in place and coin-operated photocopying was made available to the public in order to enhance the all around state of the library.[8] It was at this time in the mid 1960s that the Library Board made the decision that a new building was required in the post-war period and the citizens of Windsor heavily supported this idea.

By 1971 a site had been selected for the location of the downtown library. It was to be located on the east side of Ouellette Avenue on the site that was formerly the home to the Ursuline School of Music.[9] The design for the new library was done by architects Johnson and McWhinnie who hailed from Windsor and the construction costs of their designed reached $24.88 per square foot.[1] The construction of this building was to start as soon as financial approval was received from the Ontario Municipal Board. The expected total cost was $3 million.[10] January 1972 marked the ground breaking ceremony of Windsor’s Main Library. This library is to act as a resource center for the public of Windsor. An emphasis was placed on the multi-media approach with future possibility of change or advancement kept in mind. The library boasted two special services: The Languages Centre and the Bookstore. Some of the other services offered by the new library were as follows: an information centre, family reading centre, arts and recreation centre, literature and history section, film centre, science and technology section, philosophy, religion and social sciences, archives and assembly and meeting rooms with capacity for up to 300 people. The Carnegie Library and the new library erected in 1972 were not the only libraries available to the citizens of Windsor. By 1969, there were eight existing branches of the Windsor Public library and today there are nine. This figure does not include the community archives or museums.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Windsor Public Library. (1973). Souvenir Brouchure Commemorating the Opening of Windsor's New Public Library. [Brochure].
  2. ^ Origins and Evolution of the Windsor Public Library System 1894-1967. Retrieved September 24, 2007. available from:, page 5.
  3. ^ The New Building. (1953). Carnegie Library Windsor, On. 1903-1953. Fifty Years of Service. Shell-Mex and B.P Limited. (pg 10).
  4. ^ The New Building. (1953). Carnegie Library Windsor, On. 1903-1953. Fifty Years of Service. Shell-Mex and B.P Limited. (pg 10).
  5. ^ a b Inadequacy of the Carnegie Building. (1945). A History of the Windsor Public Libraries, 1937-1944. [Brochure]. Hume, Anne: Author. (pg. 2).
  6. ^ 1965, April 20. $1,692,000 Library Proposed. Windsor Daily Star. (Windsor, On).
  7. ^ Atkinson, Dennis B. (1966, August 24). How About a New Main Library?. Windsor Daily Star.(Windsor, On).
  8. ^ Annual Report of the Director.(1969). Windsor Public Library 75th Annual Report 1894-1969. Bookshelf Bindery. Israel, Fred C.
  9. ^ Windsor’s New Library. Windsor Star. (Windsor Ontario)
  10. ^ 1971, November 19. Windsor’s New Library. Windsor Star. (Windsor Ontario)
  11. ^ Windsor Public Library Branches. Retrieved September 23, 2007. Available from:

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°18′40″N 83°02′04″W / 42.311124°N 83.034581°W / 42.311124; -83.034581