Friends of the Regina Public Library (FRPL) formed in December 2003 in response to the threatened closure of several Regina Public Library Branches: Connaught Library, Glen Elm Library, Prince of Wales Library, the Prairie History Room located at the Central Library and the Dunlop Art Gallery with galleries located at Sherwood Library and at Central Library.
FRPL organized and worked with people from all walks of life, and from communities throughout the City to help citizens show their support for their libraries. A petition with over 26,000 signatures helped convince the Regina Public Library Board to rescind its plans for closures. It helped convince the Regina City Council that the citizens of Regina value their libraries and would support much needed, but modest, increases in the mill rate to provide the Library with additional funding.
(See our Archive for past reports on these exciting events.)
FRPL continues to play an important role in:
- monitoring the RPL Board activities and working with the Board to reach mutual goals,
- supporting efforts by RPL and other organizations to improve libraries,
- involving the public in having their say on libraries; and
- celebrating the Libraries and our community.
Vision: A strong library system meeting community and patron’s needs that is accessible to all
Mission: In an equitable and public manner, through ongoing dialogue between the public and decision-makers, support the maintenance and development of a strong set of diverse and accessible library products, services and programs that meet the needs of all Regina residents.
- To promote transparent, accountable, democratic decision-making within and about the Regina Public Library.
- To promote equitable access to library services to meet the needs of diverse communities.
- To promote the maintenance and enhancement of RPL programs and services including those that support literacy and provide cultural opportunities for all.
- To actively promote the value of library services throughout the community.
- To create a vibrant FRPL organization.
FRPL Board Members List 2016-2017
- Joanne Havelock – Chair
- Susan Birley – History Book Project
- Jim Elliott – Treasurer
- Ann Stuart – Secretary
- Shawne Arzab – Member-at-large
- John Bishop – Member-at-large
- Bill Jones – Member-at-large
Why We Are Here
The library plays a prominent role in our communities and in our lives. Most of us have fond memories of visiting the library in our youth, either with family, friends or on our own. The library is one of the central places that children can go to learn a love of books and learning. Libraries help to build strong individuals, strong families and strong communities. In Regina, the first thing the citizens of Regina did was to present a petition to the Regina City Council asking that a free public library be established. The bylaw was passed January 17, 1908.
Over the past hundred years the Regina Public Library has benefited from the generous support of citizens, of politicians and business people who recognize that building a strong library system was the cornerstone of a progressive community. The staff and board of the Regina Public Library built a library system that is recognized across Canada for its innovative programming.
In 1974 the Library Board approved a Policy Statement, which stated that the Library’s objective was, “to provide education, information, research, aesthetic appreciation and recreation for the entire community”. This attitude towards supporting learning and enrichment through many disciplines led the Library to include a film theatre, art gallery, and history room in its programming as well as extensive book, magazine and video collections. At one point the Globe Theater even found its home in the Regina Public Library!
Unfortunately the later years of the Regina Public Library saw a gradual decrease in political support for the library. The last decade was one of uncertainty as several consecutive Library Boards chose not to ask for increases in the mill rate that would have allowed the Regina Public Library to keep up with inflation and ensure adequate resources for building maintenance and repairs. This situation led to the announcement on November 26, 2003 that the Library Board would have to close the Prince of Wales Branch, Connaught Branch and Glen Elm Branch as well as the Dunlop Art Gallery and the Prairie History Room.
The community reacted immediately by forming the Friends of the Regina Public Library to oppose the closures, resulting in a petition of 26,000 signatures being presented to City Council on March 5, 2004. As a result, the closures were rescinded and the Library Board, under the direction of City Council, launched a task force to examine the options. FRPL also launched its own Task Force. The Friends of the Dunlop Art Gallery (FODAG) also formed and worked together with FRPL to hold events, create public dialogue, draw attention to the issues and suggest alternatives to closures. After further protests, extensive media coverage and changes to the Library Board, the decision to close the Branches, the Prairie History Room and the Dunlop Art Gallery was rescinded.
(For more information about the history, See our Archives – Media Releases and Coverage. For more information about FODAG see http://www.rubyarts.org/dunlop/archived).
The Friends of RPL, FODAG and other community groups and individuals were successful in stopping the closures in 2004, and changes have certainly occurred in the Library Board and Management since that date. Under the new Board and management, new programs have been introduced and there has been construction of new Prince of Wales and Regent Place Branches. Still, FRPL continues to believe that it is important for there to be a public voice in the City about Libraries. A voice that is able to provide constructive suggestions where needed, and to recognize and support the Library’s achievements.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead