History of the Library
The original Mattawa Library was built in the fall of 1957 and was located in a small room in the Mattawa High School. The purchase of equipment and books was kept to a minimum and the fees for membership were $2.00 for adults and $.050 for children. Local clubs and the Town Council gave financial help to the newly opened library.
By the spring of 1958, books were deliverd to the Library from the Provincial Library Services of the Ontario Department of Education. The Library had grown and it held over 600 books, 82 members and $62 in the bank. The day-to-day tasks of running the Library were performed by the Board Members and volunteer librarians.
In the 1960s the Library relocated to the then Town Hall. Chairs, desks, and bookcases were donated to the Library. The Library then received a larger government grant to purchase larger volumes of books. Scientific books were also added to the growing collection of books along with a new selection of French language resources. The Library now had approxinately 1200 books and 200 members.
In 1963, the shipment of books from the Provincial Library Services Association stopped due to the destruction of most of the building in a fire. The amount of memberships dropped suddenly and even lowering the costs of membership from $2.00 to only half-price failed to encourage interest. However, the following year, the Mattawa Library became a member of the Muskoka-Parry Sound Regional Co-operative. This Co-operative later became the Algonquin Regional Library Co-operative. The immediate effect of this action led to the delivery of 400 books to the Mattawa Public Library. From then on, a regular quarterly exchange of books was instituted at the cost of $100 or $25 per 100 books. At this time, the Mattawa Library Association became defunct. But not the staff. It had a new vehicle to operate - the Mattawa Public Library, with all the involvements and trappings that accompany such as enterprise.
As a public institution, it received financial support from the Town Council in accordance with the Public Libraries' Act which required the minimum tax imposition of one mill. The grant from the Town amounted to about $1,600 annually. Part of the Library's expenses were also met by the Province. By becoming a public library, membership fees could no longer be collected.
A major upgrading took place when the Library moved to roomier quarters on Main Street in a building previously occupied by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (where the present Mattawa IDA is now located). Also, the Library's inventory of books had grown to 3,000 and by 1965 membership stood at 1,322.
On January 13, 1975, by resolution of the Town Council, the Mattawa Public Library was renamed the John Dixon Public Library to pay tribute to the man who had given so much of his time and knowledge towards the forming of our present-day Library. In May 1977, the Library moved to more spacious quarters in the the building formerly occupied by Simpson-Sears at 362 Main Street.