The Year Ahead at TBPL

City of Thunder Bay 50th Anniversary Logo2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the amalgamation of the cities of Port Arthur and Fort William into the City of Thunder Bay. As such, it also marks the 50th anniversary of the Thunder Bay Public Library (TBPL). To mark the occasion, TBPL has been hard at work on several big projects for the coming year.

One of the projects that I’m quite excited about is the podcast, “The Suspicions of Mary J.” Library staff (including myself) have been crafting a nine episode mystery story, which revolves around a group of staff discovering gold and a mysterious journal in the library vault. “The Suspicions of Mary J” will be released in early spring; keep an eye on our website (, which will have links to the podcast episodes as they become available. The story is a work of fiction.

TBPL will also be partnering with local organizations and individuals in 2020 for two big festivals: “From Here” and “Outside the Lines.” “From Here” honours the musical talent present in Thunder Bay: we’ll be celebrating the artists who got their start around amalgamation and including new talent. “From Here” will engage with youth and others, encouraging them to follow their dreams and consider a career in music. “From Here” will take place in early October 2020.

The second festival, “Outside the Lines,” will be celebrating Thunder Bay’s diverse storytellers. “Outside the Lines” will honour stories in all of their forms, including oral, written, and visual. “Outside the Lines” will be held in November 2020.

2020 also marks a few other anniversaries at TBPL: this April is the 40th anniversary of the TBPL Children’s Program Tales for Twos, and the 25th anniversary of the County Fair Community Hub. 1995, the year the County Fair Community Hub opened, was also TBPL’s 25th anniversary. That summer, the library hosted a time capsule program; 25 years later, it’s now time to open those capsules! If you participated in that program, we’d like to invite you to open your capsule at the library in the summer of 2020. We’ll also be inviting everyone to make new 2020 capsules, so be sure to watch for this event!

Several staff members have been writing a book of historical nonfiction which documents the history of TBPL. The book showcases the library’s dual beginnings in Fort William and Port Arthur through amalgamation in 1970 and beyond. There are chapters on all four library locations, as well as on the Bookmobile and the Victoriaville Branch Library, which both predate the County Park Community Hub. This publication will also look at the various programs, collections, services, and partnerships that have been a part of the library throughout its history. We are working towards a release date in Fall 2020, as a culmination of TBPL’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Shauna Kosoris – If you have a comment about today’s column, we would love to hear from you. Please comment below!

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