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General News · 2nd February 2013
Brigid Weiler
The Louisa Tooker Library-also known simply as the Whaletown Library-started life in 1927 as the the Farmer's Institute building, and was also used as a waiting room for the Union Steamship-a necessary function as the steamship had a rather flexible schedule. The Farmer's Institute was not popular with the keepers of the Whaletown Store, because they sold bulk grains at a discount-the storekeeper at the time it was built, one Bill Robinson, patrolled his grounds with a gun to make sure it wouldn't be built on his land-thus its position on the gov't road allowance.

In 1935 the Women's Institute approached the Farmer's Institute with a request that they might have a shelf of library books in the building-the WIs had been providing a library on a rotating basis in their various homes. They were told that they could have a shelf, rent free for a period of one year, and that the Library could be available for 2 hours on Fridays, with the key kept in the Post Office (some things never change). This was renewed the following year, and after that there is a ten year gap in the minutes. Somewhere during that time, the Women's Institute acquired the building. Books were donated, and there was also a rotating shelf that was renewed every year or so by a library in Nanaimo. In 1957 the building was given to the Whaletown Community Club, who still owns it. For a period of time in the '80s and into the early '90s the library was part of the Vancouver Island Regional Library system, but eventually the VIRL deemed it unnecessary for Cortes to have two libraries. The Louisa Tooker Library collection is now by donation, and many interesting titles will be found there, as well as a selection of videos and DVDs.

We are always looking for books: in particular we would like to expand the Canadiana section as well as children and young adult literature, and would like a shelf of local authors. Also needed are science fiction, modern fiction, classics, and non-fiction of all kinds. DVDs are also high on our list. The Library is open on Fridays from 1.00 PM to 3.30 PM, but arrangements can be made to visit on other days, please call Brigid at 6623 for futher info. We hope to hold an Open House in the spring, watch for notices.

Mrs Louisa Tooker, for whom the Library is named, was a Cortes Island pioneer who was awarded a Provincial Lifetime Membership in the Women's Institute for her dedicated service.