by Laura Keil

Left to right, top to bottom: the library space includes a reading area and computer lab; Naomi Balla-Boudreau and Doreen Beck stand in front of the new building; Heather Zahn in the museum; the “Evolution of Traps” display; Photo titled “Flying High” showing Elizabeth and Doug Taggart with Doug’s girls. / LAURA KEIL

At 11am on a Thursday last week, it was difficult to find a parking spot. No it wasn’t a liquidation sale – it was the new library & museum on McBride’s Main Street, which is already humming with activity.

In McBride & District library, many people were using the computer lab; some read magazines, some knitted. Beyond was a kids area with bean bag chairs, a teen area with games, and row upon row of books. Soon there will be a self-checkout (for added privacy), more furniture and signage. Library cards from Valemount and McBride are both valid and books can be returned to either library.

In the Valley Museum and Archives, people perused the high-ceiling displays showing the nine “founding families” of the McBride area who still have descendants living here (Rosin, Shovar, Monroe, Pawloske, Kolida, Long, Mackinnon, McCarty & Lamming). Two families date back to 1911 (Monroes and Pawloskes). “Because the community essentially bought this building, we wanted to celebrate the people here,” says museum curator / manager Heather Zahn. The community voted in 2016 to increase taxes to help the library & museum purchase the new building. The museum includes an outdoor area with larger artifacts, glass cases with taxidermied local fauna, and McBride’s oldest piano – from the 1880s.

The museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 5pm and the library hours are: Tuesdays 10am – 5pm & 7-9pm; Wednesdays & Thursdays 10am-5pm; Fridays 2-9pm; and Saturdays 2-5pm