The Madoc Public Library: a wonderland for a small-town kid

Madoc Library

The Madoc Public Library – one of the happiest places of my childhood.

In last night’s post I said I felt like Nancy Drew (for possibly having – with some major help, I hasten to add – solved a mystery about the Manse’s original ground-floor layout), but how can one think about Nancy Drew without also thinking of the Hardy Boys?

The House on the CliffThat’s just what reader Sash did. In a comment on that post, he brought back a flood of memories. “And speaking of Nancy Drew,” he said, “that takes me back to my childhood visits to the Madoc Public Library, where I loved borrowing mystery books. One of my childhood favourites was The House on the Cliff, with the Hardy Boys.”

Oh man. Suddenly in my mind’s eye I was standing before a floor-to-ceiling shelf of books in the young-adult section of the Madoc Public Library. It was perhaps 1969, and I was going through all the series written for kids my age: Nancy Drew, of course, but also the Hardy Boys, Cherry Ames (the nurse) and Vicki Barr (the stewardess). The Madoc Library was the wonderful place where all these books resided, and what a thrill it was to take home an armload every week! Sash, thank you for reminding me of that.

Since Raymond and I have moved to the Manse I’ve been in the Madoc Library a couple of times, but both times on flying visits to take advantage of the photocopier service, getting some documents copied in a mad rush (which is the way I do most things in life). I was in the building long enough to recognize that it was much changed from the Madoc Library of my youth at the Manse, but I hadn’t thought too much about it. Today, thanks to Sash’s comment, I made a bit of a pilgrimage to have a look round the place and see if there are any traces of the library I remember.

The bad news is: there aren’t. The building has been extensively renovated and enlarged, and I couldn’t even figure out where in the present layout that much-loved children’s section had been – or where the desk was where kindly librarian Mrs. Duffin sat, making sure the kids weren’t checking out any unseemly books from the adult section.

But the good news is: it’s a wonderful library! Bright and airy and comfortable, with a long row of computers for people to use, paintings on the walls, an archives (which I didn’t enter, but that will be a most enjoyable project for some rainy Saturday), and a cozy sitting area with easy chairs and even a fireplace.

It is a place for a small town like Madoc to be truly (and justifiably) proud of.

And while I confess I didn’t specifically check it out, I am willing to bet that somewhere on the shelves still lurks a copy of The House on the Cliff.

3 thoughts on “The Madoc Public Library: a wonderland for a small-town kid

  1. Thanks very much for posting this. I have fond memories of the Madoc Public Library, and it sounds like it has changed so much over the years. I seem to recall that the building had an expansion during 1967, as a Centennial year project. Before that, it was quite small. The librarian’s desk was on the right as one entered, and there were only two or three aisles of shelves. Now, with the computer systems, archives, fireplace and sitting area, it must be even nicer than before. The north door and accessibility ramp must be fairly new, as I don’t remember those. Do you have any idea of when the latest expansion was made? And, it was always so convenient to visit the Library, as one usually had to drop into the Post Office, next door, for stamps and mail pickup. I always loved the area — Davidson Street is quite pretty, and the lay of the land, as one walks north and up the hill (approaching Prince Albert Street) is very interesting.

    Thanks, too, for posting the photo of The House on the Cliff. I loved reading that book, and it was one of those that kept me in suspense, with a surprise ending (which I won’t reveal!)

    Yes, Madoc can be very proud of the Library, and I hope that people use the resources as much as possible, even though the internet has made it so convenient for people to read at home.

    • If memory serves, you’re right about the expansion to the library in 1967, Sash (though readers more connected with the library might well correct us on that). If my recollection is right, the “new” part was at the back, down a couple of steps, and I remember there was a plaque on the wall beside those steps explaining the Welsh origin of the name “Madoc.” I searched in vain for that plaque when I visited the library yesterday (and also for the section down the two steps). But as you correctly surmise, even though the 2014 version of the Madoc Public Library doesn’t at all resemble the library of our childhood, it is very, very nice indeed.

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