"I have been a proud owner of my library card since I was six years old. Our Saint John Free Public library offers me the pleasure of the reading experience and the competence and friendly guidance of a knowledgeable staff. I read for pleasure and for information and the comfort and need of holding the book in my hands.”
- The Honourable Erminie Cohen
"Great people, great service, and a welcome refuge from the demands of our daily lives: that's MY library. In a world where seemingly everything has a price that is always going up, here is a precious resource that remains free to all."
- Carl Killen, MLA (Saint John Harbour)
"The library isn’t just a book place. It is an idea place. Communities need innovative ideas in order to grow and prosper and to create a better life for its residents. That’s why we will always need good libraries."
- Patrick Woods, City Manager
"I find the Saint John Free Public Library a very peaceful and restful place to visit. The staff members are extremely knowledgeable and very willing to please the clients. I sometimes come in to find a particular book that I wish to read and other times I will donate books that I have purchased and already read. The Saint John Free Public Library has always been very efficient and most pleasing for all of us to visit. A great asset to our city."
- Shirley McAlary
"Our Library continues to be the thread that weaves throughout our ever changing population and growing community. Its a meeting place where ideas are shared, different viewpoints are debated under an umbrella of good citizenship.
May it always prosper and grow."
- Paul Zed
"My life-long love of reading began at the Saint John Free Public Library. I recall with fondness, Saturday mornings, exploring the stacks, lost in a world of stories and emerging finally with my reading for the week."
- Peter Buckland
"I love my local library! As an author, I visit regularly for inspiration, information, and ideas. My favourite department is the Children's Department, where I can sit and read books to my heart's content while around me the children are enjoying their books. This inspires me to write more children's books.
My favourite book is "A to zoo : subject access to children's picture books". When I get an idea for a book, I go to this publication to see it that subject has been written about before. If it has, I look for those books to see how that subject has been covered and that helps me to decide whether I should write a book on that subject.
I also like to see the new books coming in - there's always something interesting! And when an author comes to visit, I am there, asking questions, learning from them, to help me improve my future writing."
- Glenda Thornton
"My library has contributed positively towards my health and efforts to become physically fit: I can’t wait to get out walking while tuned in to my ‘Playaway’! Thanks!"
- Patricia Hamilton Warr
"The Saint John Free Public Library, all three branches, are understated goldmines. Their doors are open wide to us offering and expertly directing us to any information, thought or idea the world has to offer and real people to discuss them with. And then there are those wonderful books which transport us to anywhere we want to go and introduce us to anyone we want to meet." Martha Edwards
The Saint John Free Public Library, the perfect escape from the real world to sit in a quiet corner and indulge in literature or a quick online surf."
- Margret Begner
“Having recent experience with the Saint John Free Public Library; both professionally and personally, I would like to take a moment to share my sense of this wonderful facility and the great folks that work there!
This isn’t just a great looking facility that houses books; it is so much more, which was an eye opener when I had the good fortune to be toured through the facility and meet and work with the enthusiastic, resourceful Library team. The Library offers a broad range of services and activities and continually strive to provide rich learning experiences for all walks of life and all ages. They welcome innovation, look to the future and cherish the past!
Where else can you surround yourself in such an enriched environment, with the convenience of location, for FREE! Personally I found the Library like so many things in and around the Saint John area; a hidden treasure!”
- Karen Slade
"I have been a library patron since 1964; first with the Book Mobile at Hazen White School, then the Carnegie Building on Hazen Ave., and I continue today with the Library at Market Square. About the only thing constant with the library is that they still have books. The great thing is that the library continues to make itself relevant to all of Saint John and area residents, including our tourists! Whether its internet access, movie nights, special speakers, and even that new fangled game called..Wii? It's all there - with a great staff. Thank you Library staff for making my life more knowledgeable."
- Harold E. Wright
“You don't have to ask me to say something nice about the Saint John Free Public Library as it is surely at the top of the list of the places I like to visit and spend my time. The library is so full of resources that are so capable of broadening one's view of the world. I could never have turned into the person I am, or accomplish the things I have such as the books, newspaper articles and magazine pieces without the regular use of the books, periodicals, archival deposits, records years back and now CD's and DVD, etc.
They have also been invaluable in leading the Walks n' Talks for the past 33 years. Such a rich resource for education, enlightenment, and entertainment with people so willing to help, surely a treasure that should not be taken for granted. I speak often to those I work with about the richness of the collection, and encourage them to take advantage of it. It is my hope that all the things I have gleaned over the years will come full circle, for most of my files are marked for donation to the Library so that what I have enjoyed can be enjoyed by a future generation.”
- David Goss
“The Saint John Free Public Library has been a long time supporter of innovative family and community literacy work throughout the city. The Library was a founding partner with the Saint John Familiy Literacy Advisory Committee, and remained an important friend when that group transformed into Quality Learning New Brunswick.
The library provided guidance, administrative support and funds to help QLNB develop its Quality Storytents program, now in its 8th year, as well as helping QLNB outreach the provincial Summer Reading Club program to northend neighbourhoods. In 2006, the Saint John Free Public Library was awarded the Dr. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell Early Childhood Literacy Award in recognition of its partnership in QLNB's door-to-door Bookwagon program. Today, many residents in Saint John's North end neighbourhoods think of the library not merely as a building uptown, but also as a service which visits them in the guise of a bookwagon or storytent.
This has led to some misperceptions, as in the case of the resident who remarked, sympathetically, that it must be hard for us to pull the wagon back and forth from uptown each day. We let them know we had an office and storage space nearby, but we were happy to think the neighbourhood knows that the Saint John Free Public Library supports the work of making books and services more accessible to families. This innovative support for outreach services has been successful enough to earn imitation by other NB libraries.”
- Cheryl Brown and Wendell Dryden, Community Literacy Workers, Quality Learning NB
"When I came to the library, I felt uncomfortable at first. I didn’t know what to expect. Now I’m not uncomfortable. It is good to have low-level books at the library. The computers are good things to have in the library. If you don’t have one at home, you can come to the library."
- Adult Literacy Learner
"I feel the library is a comfortable place to be. I feel good about it when I come here. I’m a little at ease now using the computer at the library to look things up. The people at the library are friendly and helpful if you need their help. I think the library is a good place to have a learning program. It is very quiet. It has a lot of computers. It is very handy to where I live. It also has a lot of books too."
- Adult Literacy Learner
“The Saint John Library means a lot to me. There are several reasons why. The first is that I will always remember visiting the library as a newcomer to the City of Saint John with my two daughters. Together, we shared our delight in discovering the library in a location that was filled with activity both on the inside and on the outside. The atmosphere is one that is 'alive' at the Saint John Library. So that is a personal and fond memory of the Library.
As someone who works at the Saint John Arts Centre, later, I would come to know the Saint John Library in a professional capacity. Meeting people like Joann Hamilton-Barry and Heather McKend who are behind the scenes of much that goes on in programming and outreach, we have worked together in community development. As we bring people together of all ages and interests to demonstrate what is available in our City that instills life long learning and creative expression, I sense that an important message has been conveyed: Whether it is reading a book, painting a picture or viewing an art exhibit, these are the bonds that bring people together and form culture at its best.”
- Heather White Brittain, Executive Director, Saint John Arts Centre
“The librarians and staff are very courteous and helpful particularly to members who have reached the Senior Citizens classification. Also to [the] handicapped, particularly [those] who are hard of hearing.
I do encourage large print books as too often people do not appreciate that many are handicapped with their vision and often are too embarrassed to admit it to others.
What it means: I like to read printed books, not computers and the Library means printed books and publications are available. Also historical books and books about history can be obtained by the library for the reader.”
- Eric L. Teed
“My library is a very important factor in my life. The staff treat me with respect, the atmosphere provides me with a friendly, quiet area where I can search for a favorite book
or spend some quality time reviewing several selections to find my favorite.
As a senior, my library opens the world to me and increases my education as well as provides me with the means of keeping up to date on activities around the world.
My library means the world to me.”
- Judith Hill
“The Project Management Institute of New Brunswick is so appreciative of the support we’ve received from The Saint John Free Public Library. The library’s meeting spaces provide a great atmosphere for us to get together and learn. The space provided for books we donate has been a great solution to allow our members and friends to easily access them. The library staff are consistently friendly and helpful. A great space, good books and wonderful people – we can’t ask for more.
Thanks so much.”
- Gail Mitchell, PMP, Past-President, PMI New Brunswick Chapter
“Our very old and active Society (established 1798) has been working with the Saint John Free public Library for decades through donations and dialogue resulting in a considerable collection of volumes that promote the Scotts heritage and culture. Library staff has always had a free hand making new selections, of which we’ve never been disappointed. They regularly provide us with a catalog of the collection and update us with advice and selections of books and magazines they would like to see included. To be brief we’ve always had a great relationship with our “Free Public Library” staff and am very sure this will continue for many more decades to come.”
- John Watson, Treasurer, Saint John Saint Andrews Society
“ On behalf of READ Saint John, Tutors and Students I would like you to know what a great library you have at Market Square, it is not only a place to go for books, but a place that a Tutor and Student can meet, a place to do Workshops, or a Book Launch, and also a place that READ Saint John can display information concerning our Literacy Organization.
The resources and atmosphere at the library is a great asset for READ Saint John, the Tutors and Students.”
- Jackie Wilson, President, READ Saint John
“La bibliothèque publique de Saint Jean offre plus que le prêt de livres. C’est une gallerie d’art, un centre de références, un lieu de rencontre et un deuxième domicile aussi. L’excellent staff, les divers programmes et le grand nombre de ressources assure un accès libre aux connaissances a toute notre communauté. C’est un précieux cadeau pour tous.”
- Michèle C. Brideau
“The library uptown is one of my favourite places to write. Whether I am holing myself up in a cubby to write a paper for university or meeting with my fellow National Novel Writing Month participants to share ideas, I can always count on the library's friendly staff and quiet atmosphere to inspire me.”
- Cass McPhee
“What I like about the library is that it’s an open door to “possibility.” Once you walk through the door you can see and do and learn pretty much anything you want - - and it’s all free! The library makes almost anything possible. If you’re looking to learn about a new subject, do a DIY project, or pick up a new skill then the library is a pretty good place to start. Or, you can pick up a novel and “escape”: go to a different time, another place, and “be” someone else for a while. (My favourite section is the Graphic Novels!) You can pick up a movie or CD and there’s your entertainment for the evening - - and it doesn’t cost you a thing! (Where else can you do that?) That’s one of the best things about the library: you get to “try out” a lot of things without the commitment to buy! If you’ve heard about an author or maybe a type of music, etc. and are curious about it, you can borrow it from the library. Who knows? It could turn out to be the book/song/movie that changes your life. If so, hooray! (And if it turns out that it just wasn’t your thing, you can feel better knowing you didn’t waste money on another “dust collector” in your house! Ha ha!) The library is just a cool place to hang out because there’s always the possibility of something new to discover - - all you have to do is walk through the door. Thanks!”
- Jill LeBlanc
“What I like about the library is there is many books and we can get knowledge from them. These days, we usually find some information on the internet but through the internet there is too much unnecessary information. So, in my opinion, these are the reasons that I like my library.”
- Nicole Eunbi Jo
“This is a great library for many reasons. Still being able to have access to books at no fee charge, in this day, is truly an exciting thing – no barriers for all.
All the latest books I tend to read are here so that tells me the library is proactive in being current and trying to meet needs of its clients.
The wonderful staff make coming here a pleasure. I have been escorted around to familiarize me with locations and topics of books.
I appreciate the microfilm. I was able to find some family info. The hidden treasures upstairs in old and ancient texts I am still anxious to explore.
The girls go out of their way at the main desk with help in so many ways, too many to mention here.
Add this all together and you have a positive experience as you walk through the doors.
Great attitudes. Lovely smiles.”
- B. Phillips
“Saint John Free Public Library is one of my favourites because of its cozy feel. Even though it is bigger and brighter than the others in the city, it has a certain feeling of calmness that invites you in to read and take a break from the world. My favourite is to sink into the blue chairs and read! The view of the water lets you know you are in the Maritimes – literally right next to the water.
I also enjoy that people come in to read the newspapers everyday – I always am comforted by the old gentleman who does the jigsaw frequently, he still wants to keep challenging his mind. I like having my library card on my keychain because using it feels as natural as using my keys to get into my house.
The library is a place of learning and it’s great to know that it is there ready and waiting to help me on my many journeys. Of course staff is lovely and you wonder who will check you out and remind you that you have a fine!”
- Stacey Menzies
“Ever since my daughters and I moved here from Mexico, we considered the library like an good friend. in the books we found companionship and comprehension the we were looking to find. And the people that worked there helped us to have all the enjoyable moments that we could ever need.”
- Teresa Ayala
What a wonderful opportunity to share the profound influence the library has had on my life. I have found the library has provided for me access to the world of thought. It is not an exaggeration to say that the library played a significant role in turning my son’s life around. He was struggling with mental illness and our family was completely overwhelmed. We did not find local medical help made much difference. I was constantly reading books from the library which gave me ideas of how to improve his situation. One day I came across a book which included writings on orthomolecular approaches with contact information in Canada. This information opened up a new approach to dealing with our son’s difficulties. He has since completely stabilized with this approach to help. I have continued to extensively research myself the impact of nutrition and environment on mental health. To have a library card in New Brunswick is to have access to the collections of most of the libraries across the country. I believe I have borrowed books from most provinces by this time. The library provides access to information which is so significant to our freedom as individuals. To me the library’s importance in my life cannot be overstated.
“People often ask me where investigative news stories come from - the ideas for them and the sources that inform them - and my answer is often "the library". In fact most of the significant investigative news stories I have ever broken - including the ones that eventually led to the adoption of gas price regulation in New Brunswick - originated in the reference stacks of either the Saint John Free Public, Harriet Irving or Legislative libraries.
In the days before the internet I used to visit all 3 libraries frequently and randomly read Statistics Canada publications to see how New Brunswick compared to the national average on all kinds of things - jobs, milk production, population growth, egg consumption, budget deficits - you name it.
In the early 1990's I happened to pull a copy of Statistics Canada's Energy Statistics Handbook off the shelf and leaf through it. There was a section that showed gas prices in Canadian cities with the tax component removed and there was a curious difference between prices oil companies charged in Saint John and the Canadian average.
In 1992 the New Brunswick government had passed a 2 cent/ltr gas tax cut and by 1993 the Energy Statistics handbook was showing that oil companies were charging consumers in New Brunswick about 2 cents/ltr more than the national average for gas than they had prior to the tax cut. In other words, the tax cut looked like it had not been passed along to consumers but simply resulted in oil companies upping their own prices.
The story that flowed from that small discovery was called "A Matter of Pennies". It won several regional and national investigative news awards - including being named Canada's Investigative Story of the Year by the Canadian Association of Journalists in 1996.
A Matter of Pennies spawned a New Brunswick Legislature Inquiry that eventually confirmed its findings and led to other investigative reports on gas prices in New Brunswick - also largely researched at the library. Later, those stories led to investigative reports in 2005 on how heating oil refined in Saint John sold for less in regulated markets in Newfoundland and PEI than it did down the street from the refinery itself.
In 2006, the New Brunswick government announced the adoption of petroleum price regulation in the province and cited concerns about problems detailed in CBC reports as the reason - problems originally discovered in the stacks of the library.
It's true that some information that used to be available only at the library is now online, but it's still only a fraction and visits to the stacks are still required for any serious journalist. In September I was down to read old newspaper accounts of 2006 election campaign promises to understand which had been kept and which had been broken and in October I was there to read through old provincial government financial records to understand how the province's current deficit compares to deficits of the 70's and 80's. None of that information is online.
There is still no greater source of information about New Brunswick - its history and how that has led to current circumstances - than the province's libraries. Much of what they document holds the key to understanding the province and to this day exists no where else.
They are treasures of truth and fact.”
- Robert Jones (AKA The gas guru)