Recent History – 2002
November 6, 2002
By Jamie Dirom, Daily News Staff
Efforts are in the works to make one of the city’s best sources of local history more accessible to the public.
Currently, the Calverley Collection — a wide variety of materials including books and audio tapes that offer a wealth of information about the Peace — is locked away in little more than a closet of a room in the library’s upper level.
But the collection’s planning group is aiming to put the historical information in its own, more easily accessible location downstairs, so patrons will be able to more easily use the materials.
In its current location the collection can’t always be accessed, because a library staff member must accompany people who want to use the collection for security reasons.
“Sometimes the library only has one adult staff member working,” said librarian Jenny Snyder. “At that time, they have to apologize to people and ask them to come back.”
While that may work for people who live in the region, it won’t work for everyone who wants to use the collection.
“Sometimes somebody’s just passing through town and that’s the only time they have to do that.”
There’s already work in progress to create a space for the collection on the lower level. Shelf space has been cleared out to make room for books that are part of the collection. The area will be cordoned off to indicate that is not a part of the library’s regular collection.
Calverley Planning Group members made a presentation to council Monday to request funding to furnish the area with glass-fronted, locking storage cabinets to accommodate binders and non-book items that are part of the collection, as well as a desk and chair. They also sought an ongoing grant to maintain the collection and improve it over time.
The heart of the collection is a series of binders called “History is Where You Stand.”
The collection was assembled over the years by its namesake, Dorthea Calverley, who lived in Dawson Creek from 1936 until her death in 1989. It continues to grow today thanks to the efforts of Gerry Clare of the South Peace Historical Society, who adds current news to the collection.
While the collection is still holed away, Snyder said the information in the collection is being used more than ever Ð thanks in part to its presence on the Internet.
“A lot of ‘History is Where You Stand’ is on the Internet,” she said.
It’s encouraged people — and not just those from Dawson Creek — to come and check out the physical collection.
“They come down and they come to the library from all over the place,” Snyder said.
The collection ended up in the library thanks to an agreement Calverley signed with the city in 1981, entrusting the city with the collection’s future after her passing.
Moving the materials downstairs will help improve the public’s access to the collection. Calverley had intended for the collection to be available to the general public.
Snyder said the cost of the furnishings will amount to an estimated $3,500. City council Monday deferred the request for the furniture to capital budget discussions. An annual grant of $300 was also discussed and appears likely to receive council’s approval.
The online portion of the collection can be found at: http://calverley.ca.72-10-53-202.newharvest.ca