Harry’s Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador, has a population of less than 100. It is a pretty community with a lot of shoreline and despite being so small, it can boast about having what may very well be the only 5-way intersection in all of Green Bay.
Many houses in Harry’s Harbour are now summer cottages for out-of-town folks. In the warmer months the number of people in the community swells.
You might be surprised to learn this tiny community still has a public library. You might also assume that no one uses this library, that the building is empty save for the librarian.
A visit to the Harry’s Harbour Public Library on June 13th, 2017, proved me wrong. So wrong. When I pulled up, there were multiple vehicles outside. People were in there reading books, and checking out books. Others came in after I arrived, again to get a look at books.
This library is used.
Under the watchful eye of Queen Elizabeth — in a portrait high on the wall — librarian Beverley Batstone sat with me for a spell in the brightly-lit little library and told me all about the place.
Beverley has been working in the Harry’s Harbour Public Library since 2012 and her job title is now officially ‘Library Technician 1’.
But you may still wish to call her a librarian.
Harry’s Harbour has had a library since about 1948, but this particular cute little library — just 30 ft x 36 ft — was opened in 1988.
Beverley explained that although it is only open for 10 hours a week, the Harry’s Harbour Public Library offers a kids’ summer reading program (which will launch on Thursday, June 22, at 6 pm in the library) and a ‘kid’s night’ once a month. There are DVDs to borrow, and magazines, and a full wall of books for children and youth. There is a good looking selection of books for adults as well.
The library also offers faxing, and printing services.
And interestingly, according to a notice on the wall, digital cameras are available for rental.
This library is not automated, meaning in the back of each book is that little paper sleeve that you remember, and the lined card. (Let your childhood memories flood out. This library is all retro.) The due date is still written on a card! (Awesome.)
Well…this library is somewhat retro. There are two computers with internet access for public use. There is no cell service in Harry’s Harbour and use of these computers picks up quite a bit in summer months.
How wonderful it is that in an area of Newfoundland that has downsized over the years and has seen every shop close up and so many young families move away, there is still a library. There is still a place to go to grab a book or magazine, the same way you did in the 1980s — the due date written on a card, with the Queen looking on from a spot on the wall.
If you live in the area, be sure to make use of this library. You just might find something there that will make for better bedside reading than a smart phone.
“Use it or lose it,” they say.
But, judging by the action in that library on June 13th, we can safely assume this library is used, and is appreciated.
Beverley lit up when I asked if she would welcome any kind of visitor. When out and about this summer, drop in to see her. You’ll find the library on Main Road, opposite the United Church.
Harry’s Harbour Public Library Hours
Tuesdays: 3 – 5 pm & 6 – 9 pm
Thursdays: 3 – 5 pm & 6 – 9 pm
Find the Harry’s Harbour Public Library on Facebook