North Vancouver's first library service began in January 1869, but it wasn't until November 12th, 1924 that a Public Library Association was officially chartered and a small fee-for-service library opened. For many years thereafter, a small group of women operated the library in various places in the Lower Lonsdale area. Members borrowed from its stock of donated books or those purchased from the proceeds of afternoon teas and card parties. Closure often threatened due to lack of funds and inadequate premises.
For a while, the Association received small grants from the City and the province, but during the Depression of the 1930's, these fell, and finally ceased. Sheer determination kept the library going, and by 1945 a monthly circulation of approximately 600 was achieved. The City's annual grant had been renewed, and had grown to $240 per year. This relative affluence enabled the Association to employ a few paid workers. In 1949, with the help of governments at all three levels, the old Wartime Administration Building on 131 East 2nd Street became the library's new home. By 1950, circulation had topped 20,000, and City Council was asked for increasing grants each year.
The Library, 1949, 1958, 1975, 2008
As part of the 1958 British Columbia Centennial celebration, the City built the North Vancouver Centennial Library on 132 West 12th Street. In a December 1964 public referendum, the library became a free, tax-supported municipal library. In 1966, a new wing and a separate children's department doubled the size of the building. In 1975, the library moved to a new Civic Centre on 121 West 14th Street, and became the North Vancouver City Library. Thirty-three years later, on September 20, 2008, a magnificent state-of-the-art 36,000 square-foot library opened on the plaza across from the 1975 building, reflecting the City's continued growth and aspirations.