Our History


1930s – Mrs. Evelyn Thurston started a lending library, securing a variety of materials from her friends in England. With the help of Mrs. Mary Boyd, the local postmistress, Mrs. Thurston packaged and sent bundles of books to each family in the rural districts of Rife, Hoselaw, and Moose Lake.

A sepia-tone photo of an older woman writing in a book.


1946 – The project became too large for Mrs. Thurston's home, and she moved the approximately 3,000 books to Rife School, where the teacher was expected to act as librarian.


Late 1940s – A group of Bonnyville citizens united to organize a community library.


1953 – Mrs. Thurston was approached with the idea of turning her collection of books over to Bonnyville to help form a library there. As a tribute to her tireless dedication and years of work in providing books to the surrounding area, the new library was named the Thurston Memorial Library.


1962 – The Thurston Memorial Library Board investigated the possibility of having the library established under Municipal Status in accordance with the Provincial Libraries Act. In December 1962, Mr. Chris Szaszkiewicz, Chairman of the Board, presented the Town of Bonnyville Council with a petition signed by the ratepayers of the town, asking council to establish the library under Municipal Status. At the meeting, Town Council approved the motion to establish a municipal library in accordance with the Libraries Act. On January 22, 1963, the Town Council appointed the first municipal library board.


1967 – The Town of Bonnyville and the Municipal District of Bonnyville No. 87 combined finances to house a Centennial building that would house the municipal offices and the library.


1981 – Town Council expanded and renovated the library premises.


1989 – Construction began on a new, standalone, 6,200 square foot library building.


1990 – The Bonnyville Municipal Library moved into its present location.


2006 – A consultant was hired to perform a needs assessment study of the current library and a conceptual plan for the future of the library over the next 20 years. The consultant reported that the space within the current building could be configured to provide the space needed until 2016. He stated that, after that, the library would require an expansion or a move to larger facilities.


2008 – The library received a much-needed update and all of the shelving and furniture was updated.


2015 – The Town of Bonnyville hired Manasc Isaac Architects to do a feasibility study for a library expansion.