Learn about the history of Yukon Public Libraries


The very 1st iteration of a public library in Whitehorse was 2 glass cupboards located at the Presbyterian Church.

In 1914, the Imperial Order of Daughters of Canada (IODE) ran the library out of the old hospital building on Elliot Street.

1915 to 1960

Whitehorse Public Library was located on the corner of 2nd Avenue and Elliot Street. In 1942, use of the meeting room was offered as a canteen for American troops building the Alaska Highway.

1955 to 1960

C.K. Morison (British Columbia Public Library Commission) travelled along the Alaska Highway to Whitehorse. There he consulted with the Commissioner of the Yukon on the question of regional library services for the territory.


Yukon Regional Library was set up. Whitehorse and Dawson were designated as branch libraries.

New branch libraries were also started in Watson Lake and Haines Junction and 7 "deposit stations" were established in Carmacks, Teslin, Swift River, Brooks Brook, Keno, Beaver Creek and Destruction Bay.

1962 to 1963

Canyon Creek, Champagne and Carcross were added as branch libraries. Elsa was set up as an associate library. While Elsa and Whitehorse were the most active libraries during this time.

1965 to 1970

  • A new library building was constructed for Whitehorse Public Library and its hours were increased.
  • Staff and service was growing to 29 community libraries and 18 school libraries.
  • Artist Ted Harrison held his 1st art exhibit at the library.

1970 to 1980

  • A universal borrowers card was adopted.
  • There were 7 branch libraries operating: Whitehorse, Dawson City, Faro, Elsa, Haines Junction, Mayo, and Watson Lake.

1980 to 1999

  • Teslin and Carmacks libraries were added.
  • A Francophone collection was added to the collection.
  • Writers-in-residence program was established.
  • Internet access was provided to Whitehorse and community libraries.

2000 to 2010

Whitehorse Public Library moved to its new location next to Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre.

2010 to present

24 hours a day and 7 days a week Wi-Fi access was introduced. Accessibility services are offered and digital services expanded. Thousands of new titles are available as new digital services are added.