GPPL History

In 1939, the Grande Prairie branch of the Women's Institute asked the town council of the time for room in the town hall for a new library. With the approval of the town, Charles Spencer, a local contractor, built the first bookcases and with donations from local citizens and a set of encyclopedias from the Edmonton Bulletin, the new library boasted a collection of 300 books on its opening day in June.

In 1942, the provincially recognized and properly constituted Grande Prairie Public Library hired its first librarian, Mrs. Phillips. Over the next several decades, GPPL would make a number of moves. In 1957, the library moved to the old Grande Prairie Courthouse building on 101 Avenue, to the old Merit Hardware building in the early 1970s and again in 1989 to a converted liquor store with much expanded space.

An aging building and a rapidly growing population encouraged library staff and board members to once again make a request to the City and the Province of Alberta for funding to build a new library facility. The concept for a combined facility to house the Grande Prairie Public Library and the Prairie Art Gallery was approved by City Council in 2002. The site for the new facility - the former Montrose Junior High School location - was approved in 2003.

Construction on the Montrose Cultural Centre, including a new 37,000 square foot Library, began in 2007. The Grande Prairie Public Library and the Prairie Art Gallery opened their doors in this bright, spacious new facility on June 11, 2009.

In June 2014, the Grande Prairie Public Library marked its 75th anniversary with a community celebration featuring a silver tea, along with crafts, music and games from the 1930s and 1940s. A photo gallery of the Library through the decades was another highlight.

With over 75 years of creativity, excellence and innovation, GPPL continues to grow and respond to the needs of the vibrant community it serves, looking forward to a very bright future.