Our History

A Brief History of the Whistler Public Library

The Whistler Public Library Association was formed in December 1985 by a dedicated group of community minded citizens. Space was provided by the municipality in the basement of the municipal hall on Blackcomb Way. The Rotary Club of Whistler was extremely generous in providing the materials and labour to finish the interior of the 1400 square foot room. In record time, the Library was officially opened by provincial politicians Grace McCarthy and John Reynolds on July 28, 1986. However there was still work to be done and the Library opened to the public on August 27,1986.

The Library was open 4 days a week for a total of 16 hours and offered a collection of 4,600 brand new books. By the end of 1986, 380 members had joined and borrowed a total of 2,736 books. In December 1994, the Library moved to its new location in Village North and doubled its space.

In January 1999, the Whistler Public Library became a tax-supported municipal library. In 2005, the library was open for 51 hours per week, employed 10 full and part time staff, circulated almost 150,000 items, registered 5,670 borrowers, and had over 135,000 user visits. Nine years later, in January 2008, the Library opened the doors of a spectacular new home. With over 12,000 square feet of floor area and almost double the shelf space, the new Whistler Public Library is expanding its programs and collections to meet the increasing demands of 21st-century library users.

Through the years the Library has offered various programs to the community - weekly story times for preschoolers, summer reading clubs, free legal seminars, slide shows and author readings. Well-known authors who have visited the Library include W.P. Kinsella, L.R. Wright, George Bowering, Crawford Kilian, Anne Cameron, Susan Musgrave, Andreas Schroeder, Stephen Reid, Spider and Jeanne Robinson, Laurence Gough and Paul Tennant.

The Library is funded primarily through the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the Public Library Services Branch of the Ministry of Education. Grants have included those from the Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation, Festival of Lights, Legal Services Society, Ronald McDonald Children's Charities of Canada, the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation and Industry Canada. Fundraising events have included bottle drives, book sales, raffles, dances, read-a-thons, adopt-a-chair, gala dinner dance, Wine Tasting Festival, Chocolate Festival and the most unusual - a used toilet sale!