Carnegie Library - Weston, 1955

Library service began at Weston on February 8, 1858 when the Weston Mechanics' Institute was incorporated, receiving a grant of $140 from the provincial government. Members paid an annual fee to use its library, located on Main Street (Weston Road) in the home of the librarian, James Cruickshank, a local wagon maker, undertaker and justice of the peace.

In 1885, the Weston Mechanics' Institute was revitalized (the book collection had been stored in the John Hathaway Banks's drug store, Main Street), reorganized and relocated to two rooms in the rear of the new Weston Town Hall, completed that year at the northwest corner of Main Street and Little Avenue.

This handsome building, situated in the centre of the village, was erected in 1883. It was two stories in height, and on the ground floor were the municipal offices, the council chamber and the Mechanics' Institute, predecessor of the Public Library. The second floor was occupied entirely by the spacious Dufferin Hall ... the scene of many concerts and other entertainments. Many of the outstanding political figures of the last century were heard in this hall.1

Local citizens donated books and raised funds for the library, which was open two evenings a week. In 1888, evening classes in bookkeeping and other subjects were taught at the Institute. In 1909, a children's department was established and the collection of 2,809 adult and 465 juvenile books was catalogued and classified by the official cataloguer with the Ontario Inspector of Public Libraries.

A board of management operated the Weston Mechanics' Institute. It held annual elections to appoint a chairman, a secretary, a treasurer and a librarian. In May 1909, library officials approached the Village of Weston Council about applying for a Carnegie grant to build a library. The original Weston Town Hall was demolished in 1957.

1F. D. Cruickshank and J. Nason. History of Weston. Originally printed by The Times and Guide, Weston, Ontario, 1937. Toronto: Weston Historical Society, 1983, 25-6.