Jail Becomes Library Old jail cells in the Niagara-on-the-Lake Town Hall will have a new use this year when books replace prisoners. The town's chief librarian, Gerda Molson, checks a cell block door and old cell which will be renovated for library expansion. The extra space will be used to display a historical collection of books now packed away and to house a juvenile reading room. Renovations are to be completed by May 31. The library is open four days weekly.
Niagara Falls Review. April 2, 1973
New Library extension due to open May 31, gets rare book donation from Robert Hadley.
The public Library extension, to open May 31, will combine late Georgian decor with the conveniences of a modern library.
Elegant pillars, arched ceilings and gas brasoliers will preserve the 19th century atmosphere while modern equipment and regular supplies of new books will provide greater opportunity for relaxation and learning. Through a LIP and municipal grant, the former Waterworks Department storage area and abandoned prison cells in the basement of the Town Hall are being converted into the Library extension.
Meanwhile Robert Hadley, Niagara on the Lake resident donated a leather-bound handwritten volume of Acts of the Apostles, latest addition is an outstanding example of calligraphy which took M. Moore of Portsmouth, England, seven years to write.
The Library circulated 4,600 books in March this year, or 700 more than in 1972.
The Library will be closed for two weeks in May to complete carpeting and prepare for the official opening on May 31.
Both front and back areas of the Town Hall are undergoing extensive rehabilitation work. The front portion is being renovated to become a Civic reception centre while the rear alterations are being done to expand the Library. Both projects are aided by LIP grants and local Town Council grants. Photo at left shows one of two prisoners' cells used in the days when the Town Hall was the County Court and jail. Note the perfect brick archway. So the rooms in which 19th century peace-breakers languished will now be used to store some rare volumes in the possession of the library where browsers may browse and historians carry out their research. Photo at right depicts a former rifle range used by the old High School. This will now become an auditorium where arts and crafts will be taught and will be used also for various community exercises such as lectures, film shows, meetings and similar events. It is expected there will be accommodation for about 100 persons. The photographs were taken to illustrate progress of the work under the LIP program.
Niagara Advance. April 19, 1973
Articles about renovation work at the Niagara-on-the- Lake Public Library, published by local newspapers in April 1973.