/ Greater Winnipeg
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As far back as 1848 there was a library in the Red River
colony. Winnipeg’s first circulating library was
started in the City Hall basement in 1881. Organized and
paid for by the Historic and Scientific Society of Manitoba,
this space was inadequate and funding was insufficient.
The provincial librarian, J. P. Robertson, wrote American
industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie for financial
assistance towards a new building. Carnegies representatives
decided to support the project but under certain terms.
They would give Winnipeg $75,000, but only if the city
donated the land and agreed to spend at least $7,500 yearly
on upkeep and towards the purchase of books. This annual
commitment was a concern for City Council, but after several
months of debate, they accepted the offer.