Promoting literacy in the Haut-Saint-Laurent for 45 years

Promoting literacy in the Haut-Saint-Laurent for 45 years

The Little Green Library opened in 1972.

It was on June 2, 1972 that a dedicated group of volunteers decided to create the library. In 45 years, it has moved from its original location on Chateauguay Street, to the basement of then Huntingdon Academy, to a building on Hunter Street, and then in 2006 to their current location in the old Cleyn and Tinker offices on Lorne Street.

"There was so much extra space we were able to have many services that many small libraries are not able to offer," says Louise Charlebois, the President of the Board of Directors for the Library. "And, all of this is because of our volunteers," she adds, noting the Little Green Library has always been run entirely by a dedicated group of volunteers. "The challenge remains getting people to be interested in reading," she notes, suggesting they have been working hard in the past few years to make the library more visible at the community level by participating in events and activities. For example, they provide books for a dozen home daycares, and have partnered with the Violette’s Houses project, which will see tiny libraries installed throughout the Haut-Saint-Laurent with books stocked by the library.

Once considered to be an English institution, the Little Green Library has evolved over the years to become a completely bilingual organisation, offering services principally to members in Huntingdon, Hinchinbrooke, Godmanchester, Elgin, Dundee and Franklin. Unfortunately, there still seems to be a hesitation on the part of the Francophone population to make use of the many services offered at the Library. "We have the same budget for French books as we do English," says Charlebois, noting the extensive collection held by the library in both languages.

"Our children’s section is one of our priorities," she adds, noting 30 percent of the total budget for the library is dedicated to children’s books. Last winter, a leak destroyed $1000 worth of children’s books in French, so the library has been actively working to replenish its collection. At the same time, a number of families and individuals have become members of the library from as far away as Valleyfield to access the collection of English books.

Over the summer, the Library plans to launch a bilingual book club for children, and will continue to offer new and innovative services to its members. One such successful venture has been the launch of the Ciné-Cinema Club, which screened repertory films throughout the past year, to a growing audience. The project will also benefit from funding through the MRC and the Fonds de developpement des territoires. The library also has a used book boutique, seven computer stations, wifi, reading area and café.

The main challenge faced by the library as it looks to the future remains a need for volunteers, and specifically individuals with new ideas who are willing to take on projects and organize activities.

The Little Green Library is open 4 days a week. Visit the website ( to see the weekly schedule and subscribe to the newsletter to remain up to date on upcoming events and activities.

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