A moment in history: July 22, 1965

A moment in history: July 22, 1965

· The Pulse
By Scott Lilwall
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On this day in 1965, Edmonton's public library was building a music collection for its soon-to-be-built new downtown building.

The EPL had already gathered 180 scores by Canadian composers, according to the Edmonton Journal. It was all in preparation for the opening of the Centennial Library in 1967. The ambitious music plans included having a listening room and adding to its collection of "chamber music, piano and violin sonatas" and other musical works.

Edmonton's original library was built in 1923, where the ATB Tower now stands. By the 1960s, its collection had grown large enough that a new building was needed. The city decided to move the location two blocks north, just off Churchill Square, to create a hub of civic buildings in the city's core. City Hall had been relocated on the north side of the square a decade before and the Edmonton Art Gallery was planned for the northeast corner.

In 1996, the Centennial Library was given its current name in honour of Stanley Milner, a businessman, alderman, and library board member who had been a strong advocate for the new downtown building. Over the decades, the Stanley A. Milner Library has served as the main branch and has housed many innovations, such as the Makerspace and an increased emphasis on community services that garnered international attention.

The Milner temporarily closed in 2016 for an $85-million renovation. When it reopened in 2020, opinions on the new design were decidedly mixed. The interior spaces were widely praised, while the exterior was compared to everything from a tank to a stranded cruise ship. (Quite a few were happy with the new design, however.)

Music still has a big place at the Milner. The library's Makerspace includes recording studios available to local musicians. And the Capital City Records project offers a streaming collection from Edmonton's music scene.

This is based on a clipping found on Vintage Edmonton, a daily look at Edmonton's history from armchair archivist @revRecluse — follow @VintageEdmonton for daily ephemera via Twitter.