PORT HAWKESBURY: It was a big day at the Port Hawkesbury branch of the Eastern counties regional library (ECRL) last Wednesday as the facility officially launched a new research centre.

“What we’re doing is unveiling a new computer, and that new computer is there due to the efforts of the Friends of the Library for the Port Hawkesbury branch,” said Joyce Oliver-Snair, library assistant the Port Hawkesbury branch. “We have Ancestry on the computer, and the latest microfilm reader.”

The research centre is meant for adults looking to do genealogy research, and it’s located in a quiet corner of the library. Oliver-Snair said a great deal of credit has to go to the Friends of the Library group, which organized two book sales to fund the purchases. Members of the group also volunteer extensively at the library.

“We really have some great people there,” Oliver-Snair said, noting that the group includes Donnie and Jean MacPherson, Ellen MacDonald, Mary Johnstone, Marlene MacLean, Lyn Thorne, Rodger McCalmont, and Thelma Forbrigger.

“And there’s always room for more,” she said.

Photos by Grant McDaniel
The new microfiche system at the Port Hawkesbury Library allows visitors to check out vintage newspapers like The Scotia Sun.

Laura Emery, the ECRL’s chief librarian, was also on hand. She said she and the library staff are awfully happy to see the new research centre set up.

“The Friends of the Library worked really hard to get it in here, and that community support is huge,” Emery said. “It’s a valuable resource to us and to the community.

“It makes our little librarian hearts happy that people are interested in things like research and genealogy.”

With the unveiling of the computer and microfilm reader, a guest speaker from the Beaton Institute at Cape Breton University visited the library. Archivist Jane Arnold offered a presentation on the genealogy initiatives taking place on her corner of the island.