The Way Things Were: Toronto Public Library Poster Pool
We've been doing some cleaning in our basement storage rooms recently, and it has been very interesting to see what we have been saving over the years. Boxes of old VHS tapes, piles of out-of-date brochures, lonely lost puppets that we hoped would someday make their way back to the right show . . . we even found containers full of rocks and crumbling shells! We donated what we could, and threw away the rest.
Sifting through the garbage, however, we did find some unique treasures. One was boxes and boxes of annotated cards, from the card catalogue at Boys & Girls House, describing their collections of children's books. There are some classic comments on those cards, written by the first children's librarians in the city. I predict a fascinating research project for a willing grad student, and I will try to feature these in a future blog post.
Another treasure was a stack of hand-drawn and painted posters, depicting scenes from folk and fairy tales, characters from myths and legends, and some historical figures. We were mystified by these until we flipped them over, and noticed that some had a lined piece of paper attached to the back stating "Borrowing Period - 2 months." At the bottom of the paper, underneath the hand-written names of branches (Beaches - March/71) is typed "Return to Toronto Public Libraries Poster Pool." We must have had a lending library of posters for branches to borrow and decorate their rooms and displays. Most of the posters aren't signed, so it's impossible to know who the artists were. Did we hire outside, or were they library staff? One drawing is signed in pencil "M. Pouttin June/61." Artist? Person taking inventory? We may never know . . . Enjoy these snapshots of some of the poster art, and please let me know if you have any memories of the poster pool at Toronto Public Library!