Library celebrates a 50-year milestone

Mickey Dumont

The Portage Citizen

Eva Shewchuk remembers working “for a pittance” in a British library when she was just a little more than 15-years-old, the beginning of a lifelong library career. Her love of books and libraries continued through her life and included 40 years as a volunteer with what is now the Portage La Prairie Regional Library.

On Saturday Shewchuk, 86, again made the rounds in between the local bookshelves, this time in helping others reminisce while the Portage La Prairie Regional Library threw a party to celebrate its last 50 years in Portage la Prairie.

“It wasn’t always easy — there were ups and downs — but as I look around I can see all the (so many community volunteers were involved) hard work and dedication is still helping keep this library important,” Shewchuk said.

Still, in her own home and very quick of wit, a flourish of her hands to draw attention to the library as a whole, the library veteran recalls the first steps to set up in the former Safeway building.

“Percy Gregoire-Voskamp had a good mind for space and how a library should work. He gave us excellent advice which board listened to,” she said. “A lot of this can be attributed to him.”

Shewchuk became a library volunteer in 1964 and stayed through many changes until she retired in 2004.

The library evolved into a regional library on April 12, 2004. Today there are over 70,000 books, thousands of CDs, DVDs, periodicals and research material.

The library has become a central hub for many individuals and community groups who need its space and materials.

Kick off celebration to celebrate 50 years of library organizing committee fell to Pat Calder, Patti Case, Dorothy Morish, Patti Brown and Lori Mackedenski. Delnora Rice made an awe-inspiring cake.

Library 50 celebration cake cutting
Library Board Chair Evelyn Braun left, Head Librarian Richard Bee and Assistant Librarian Sharon Nichol cut the book-themed cake baked by Delnora Rice as part of the kick-off celebration to celebrate 50 years of library held on Jan. 19. Mickey Dumont/Citizen photo

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