Opening Hours
Jim & Mary Kearl Library of Cardston Hours


Monday 10:00am - 6:00pm

Tuesday 10:00am - 6:00pm

Wednesday 10:00am - 6:00pm

Thursday 10:00am - 6:00pm

Friday 10:00am - 6:00pm

Saturday 12:00pm - 3:00pm


Jim & Mary Kearl Library of Cardston

25 3 Ave W Cardston AB T0K 0K0

Location and Hours

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February 2024 Newsletter

Feb. 01, 2024
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The history of the Cardston Library dates back to 1903, when W.O. Lee had plans to open a public library.  He rented a small building, just north of the Allen Store, which later became known as Laidlaws.  In this building he placed his own bookshelves, lamps, heater and furnished nearly 300 books from his own library.  These books included one of the earliest editions of the Encyclopedia Britannica and the library became a mine of information.
D.H. Elton, Dr. Brant, Robert Ibey, Mrs. Follet, Wm Burton Sr., are others that donated to the public library.
The early beginning of the library was a community centre and many books were read by the Cardston Pioneers.  For three or four years the library was kept open by the Generosity of W.O. Lee.  The records were kept by his oldest daughter, Miss Louis Lee.  Robert Ibey also helped many nights at the library.
There are several other stories of the early history of the library, though no one is certain of their authenticity.
Credit for starting the town's first public library seemingly must go to the Cardston Pharmacy of 1911, as the earliest reference found to this important community asset appears then in the Star which announced the start of a circulating library at the drug store, opening with 100 books.

Prior to this, of course, an excellent supply of good books had been accumulated in the school, but they would all be lost in the big school fire of 1915. In the next 19 years, not much was known about the library except that it had disintegrated in the late twenties. Fortunately two very public-spirited progressive citizens soon came forward to promote and later establish what would become the splendid, well-stocked library Cardston has today.

On March 12, 1931 the eloquent lawyer, Byron F. Tanner, began the campaign first with a front page letter in the Cardston News. Fromthen on, assisted by the editor D.O. Wright and others, in the darkest hours of the great depression they kept the ball rolling. The town was canvassed to round up books from the previous library and get others donated, along with magazine subscriptions and cash donations from individuals and organizations, particularly the Rotary Club. Finally eight months later with 2,000 books, $100 worth of magazine subscriptions, a $350 government grant and $20 per month promised from the Town Council, The Cardston Public Library opened its doors November 16, 1931, in the old Tithing Office where the Cardston Clinic would later be located.

Out of more than a dozen applicants for the $15-a-month job Mrs. Earnest Lowe was chosen to be the librarian. She proved to be an excellent choice and served faithfully and well for eleven years. During that time in 1940, the new Town Hall was built incorporating the library. The library grew and more space had to be added in 1962.

In 1942 Mrs. Lynn Leavitt became the librarian and served for two years, after which Mrs. Myrtle Olsen began her long term of dedicated service which lasted until 1965. From 1965 to April 1981 the library was in the capable hands of Mrs. Gertie Worth. She was instrumental in obtaining the new premises which the library now occupies.
In February of 1981 a large new addition was added when the town office vacated and the whole main floor became the library. The new library opened in March.
Library Historic Profile
Nov. 16th - The Library officially opens in the Old Tithing office, where the Cardston Clinic is currently located. Its collection includes 2,000 books, $100 worth of magazines, a $350 government grant, and $20 per month from the Town Council.

A new Town Hall is built, within which the Library is incorporated into.
Renovations are made to increase space within the Library.

The Town Office is moved, allowing the Library to expand to the entire main floor of the building. This building served as the town office and as a police station, with jail cells still in the basement.

The Library begins automated circulation services.

The Library's front stairs are replaced with a ramp.

The Library joins the Chinook Arch Regional Library System.
The Library's front entrance is renovated and an automatic door isinstalled.
Fundraising campaign begins for a new library. Generous donations and grants are received to build a new library facility.
The libraries moves to the temporary facility at 321 Main Street.
The old library is demolished and new construction begins.
The new Cardston library opens its doors as the Jim and Mary Kearl Library of Cardston Alberta.
Great community support as collection and furniture were moved into the new facility.
Four new public access computers were added.
Adopt A Magazine program was more successful than ever.

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Chinook Arch Regional Library System card holders have access to nearly 1,000,000 physical items, over 30,000 downloadable ebooks, audiobooks, and movies, 20,000 digital magazines and newspapers, and online courses.

Items at any library in the system can be delivered to your local library by placing a hold. Items borrowed at one library can be returned at any Chinook Arch member library.

Visit your local library to sign up for a library card, or sign up for an eCard online!

Membership Fees

  • Adult - $15
  • Family - $35
  • Senior - $12

Lending Periods

  • Books and Audiobooks: loaned for 3 weeks
  • DVDs: loaned for 7 days

Charges for Overdue Items

  • Children’s books: $0.10 per item, per day
  • Children’s audiobooks: $0.10 per item, per day
  • Adult’s books: $0.30 per item, per day
  • Adult’s audiobooks: $0.50 per item, per day
  • Toys/games: $0.25 per item, per day
  • DVDs: $2.00 per item, per day

Renewing Your Membership

Click here for information on renewing your library card.

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Chinook Arch Regional Library System serves 33 libraries in 41 member municipalities across Southern Alberta, on traditional Blackfoot territory. 

If you are a resident of a Chinook Arch member municipality and are 18 years of age or older, you can sign up for an eCard. 

If you already have a Library card, you do not need an eCard. Your current library card can be used to access online resources and place holds. If your existing card needs to be renewed, please choose one of the following options:

  1. Renew your library card
  2. Visit any Chinook Arch member library
  3. Email

If you live outside of the Chinook Arch region, review these options to see how you can use the library.

Have questions about signing up? Visit our eCard FAQs page.

Ready to sign up? Complete our eCard Registration Form.

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Chinook Arch member libraries have varying membership fees, and set their own loan periods, renewal limits, and overdue fines for library materials. Your home library is assigned based on your home address. Find your library from this list and visit their website for more information.Chinook Arch Regional Library System serves 33 public libraries in 41 member municipalities across Southern Alberta. You must be a resident of a Chinook Arch member municipality and 18 years of age or older to apply for an eCard.Fill out the eCard Registration form.You will have instant access to all library resources including ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, online courses and research databases. You can also place holds online.Yes. To start borrowing physical items, visit your nearest Chinook Arch member library and present your eCard number and ID to a staff member. You can get a physical library card by visiting your nearest Chinook Arch member library and presenting your eCard number and ID to a staff member. Your original eCard number that was assigned to you online will change to a physical card number.  If you change your eCard to a physical library card at a Chinook Arch member library, your accounts will need to be merged to retain access to your holds, borrowed items, and online services. To merge your accounts, contact membersupport@chinookarch.caSome of the possible reasons for an error are an already existing account, misspelt street names, etc. Please visit your nearest Chinook Arch member library and talk to staff, or email for help registering online.Some addresses cannot be verified. If this is the case, visit your nearest Chinook Arch member library and talk to staff, or email for help registering online.Your security settings may be blocking the email. Please check your spam/junk mail folder.No. Please contact your library immediately to report your lost or stolen card. You will need to replace it in person at your Chinook Arch member library.Yes, you can! Please visit our Renew Your Library Card page.
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Interlibrary Loan

Can’t find what you want in our catalogue? Search the collections of public libraries across Alberta using the Alberta Public Libraries Resource Sharing System.

Find and request items from other libraries, and they will be delivered to your library for checkout.

Getting Started with the Resource Sharing System

Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact Public Library Services Branch

If the item you’re looking for is newly published, suggest that your library buy it by using Suggest for Purchase.

ME Libraries

The ME Libraries service allows you to borrow materials in person at any public library in Alberta using your local library card. Sign up at

ME Account Terms and Conditions

Patrons using ME Libraries accounts to borrow items* from Chinook Arch member libraries agree to the following terms:

  • Loan periods, renewals, and borrowing limits vary depending on the individual Chinook Arch library’s local policies. 
  • In general, books have a loan period of 3 weeks, A/V materials have a loan period of 1 week. Some materials have extended loan periods including Book Club Kits which have a 6 week loan period.
  • Most Chinook Arch libraries do not limit the number of items that can be checked out at a time. Some exceptions do exist for special collections and at some Chinook Arch libraries. 
  • Holds placed by ME Libraries card users must be picked up by the user at a Chinook Arch library.
  • CNIB materials may only be checked out by borrowers with print disabilities.

*ebooks and other electronic content are not available to ME Libraries card users due to licensing restrictions.

The Alberta Library Card – access to academic and special libraries

Request a TAL card at your home library to borrow materials in person from any participating TAL library, including academic and government libraries. You can return borrowed materials at any participating TAL library.

Note that certain special collections may not be available through the TAL program. Loan periods and overdue fines may vary by library – ask the borrowing library for more information about their policies.

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Book lockers that are located in Waterton and Piikani, which allow residents to access library services where no library currently exists.

There are currently two micro-libraries in the Chinook Arch region. These micro-libraries are an automated lending library, also known as a book locker. 

Piikani Micro-Library

Located at 1605 Hwy 786 in Brocket. In the same building as the Canada Post office.

Waterton Micro-Library

Located at 209 Fountain Avenue in Waterton (south vestibule)

Can you use the Micro-Libraries? 

Anyone with a Chinook Arch library card can use the micro-libraries!

If you live in Waterton or Piikani for even part of the year, you qualify for Chinook Arch library membership.

Need Help? 

If you have trouble using the book locker, please contact Chinook Arch.

Staff is available to help Monday to Friday, 8:30-4:30, except on holidays. 

About the Micro-Libraries

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