McBride’s first Public Library was established in 1949. Following World War II, many residents saw the need for a public library, but funding was hard to come by, so the project took time to get off the ground. By October of the same year, an association had been formed. All 60 members of the association each paid a dollar.
Records show that members of the village commission, were not very empathetic of the library boards financial woes, and despite being approached individually several times, failed to offer financial support to the project. The first Public Library building was given to the association by the village and School District 58 (McBride) allowed the building to be placed on their land. Located on Third Avenue, North of Main Street, the Library building was once George Oettle’s barber shop in the 1930’s. Many residents remember this first library being very cold, as it required a wood fire to keep it warm, and with it only open a few hours a week, was often not heated.
In 1967, the Library was chosen as McBride’s centennial project, enabling the library to acquire a new building on Dominion Street. The library quickly outgrew that building as well though. In 1983, the village sold the library building to the association for a nominal sum and in 1985, the Library board and newly formed Valley Museum and Archives Society jointly applied to the Expo 86 Legacy Fund for an expansion to the library.
In April of 2016, through an assent of the voters, the Regional District moved forward with a plan to purchase a new building for the Library and Museum on Main Street with funds raised through taxation.
The front of this building has been carefully dismantled, preserved and re-built twice by the Valley Museum and Archives Society.
Photo: McBride’s first public library building on Third Avenue north of Main Street. It had been George Oettle’s barber ship in the 1930’s. McBride Library Archives.