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        A hope beyond

 the shadow of a dream ...

                   John Keats, Endymion

_________________________

The Pas Regional Library is housed

in a building of unique design:

a town landmark for over eighty years.

This choice for the library's home gave new life

to a building whose history parallels the history

of The Pas itself.

Until the late 1950's, the present-day library building

was occupied by the town's power house,

weigh station, water plant and fire-hall. 

The power house, the first for our town,

was a wood-frame structure  built in 1913. 

It housed a diesel unit which provided power

to the town from six in the morning to midnight.

At midnight, the main power switch

was turned off,causing the lights around town

to flicker and signaling the town residents

to either go to bed or light up their oil lamps.

As The Pas grew, it became obvious to town officials

that this power system would have to be replaced. 

A new power house, the brick and concrete structure

that houses the library today, was designed by

Underwood and McClelland and built in 1928.

In 1959, the rights to distribute power to The Pas

were purchasedby the Manitoba Power Commission

and the power house, per se, became obsolete.

However, the building was given new life in 1966

when it was renovated to serve as

the Municipal Offices.

At this time, the engineering department,

council chambers and a welfare office

occupied the top floor of the building

while the main floor contained the town administration,

general office and a vault. 

The rear of the building housed

the Regional Works department.

In 1973, a new town office was built and in 1974,

the Regional Works department took over

the entire power house building.

On January 7, 1975, The Pas Library Board

agreed to locate the proposed library

in the old power house. 

By agreeing to use this structure, the Board felt

they would be providing The Pas residents

with a convenient and accessible library

in the downtown area and making good use

of a historic building. 

As well, due to the nature of the building,

the Board had the opportunity to design a library

that would be unique to The Pas.

Large-scale renovations to the power house

began in 1975 and were financed in part by

a Department of Regional Economic Expansion

(DREE) grant and in part by

the Manitoba Department of Northern Affairs.

 

The overall cost of $300, 000 included furnishings,

special equipment and audio-visual materials,

as well as a comparatively large book budget. 

GBR Associates (Architects and Engineers)

and Graham Construction Ltd. (General Contractors)

were responsible for all renovations necessary

to create an appealing, functional library for The Pas.

The library opened its doors to the public

on December 13, 1975.

In 1980, further renovations by local contractor

Simon Arsenault saw the completion of the rear portion

of the building: the Annex. 

Funding for this stage

of the power house renovations which included

a multi-purpose room, board room, staff room,

archives room and supply room was provided by

the Town of The Pas and by

the Library (Rural) Capital Grant Program

sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs

and Historical Resources.

    

With renovations complete, the library was in full operation. 

It was our intention that renovations to the interior

of the building would result in a warm, cheerful atmosphere

for library users:a contrast to the somber appearance

of the building's exterior.

In designing the interior, the combination

of indoor plants with a clever color scheme

of warm bright colors (yellows, oranges, reds)

and alternating arrangements of library furnishings

created a cozy and spacious feeling.

Rather than hide the evidence of history

in this older building, the ductwork was instead painted

in bright colors to complement

the rest of the interior.

To ensure access for all, ramps were installed

to provide for a gradual transition

from the ground floor to the mezzanine. 

with numerous places along the way

to stop and browse or relax.

At present, the library has an inventory

of approximately 34,000 books.

Our library is a well-used facility. 

Over 72% of the town's population are members

of the library,and that number increases every year.

There are also a large number of non-resident members.

The administration and staff

of The Pas Regional Library welcome all visitors

and are happy to offer assistance, answer questions,

& provide tours of the facility.

______________________________________________________

See you soon at the library.