In 2003-04, the Prairie History Room at Central Library was on the chopping block when the RPL Board and Administration was in a cost-cutting mood. Three branch libraries (Connaught, Glen Elm and Prince of Wales), along with the Dunlop Art Gallery and RPL Film Theatre, were also slated for closure.
The Friends of the RPL was formed to rally support. Petitions were circulated, presentations were made to city council, and, ultimately, the decision was made move in a different direction.
Which brings us to today. Or, more accurately, Saturday Oct. 17. That’s when artist Barbara Meneley will open a residency at the Prairie History Room.
The plan over the next few months is for Meneley to create hundreds of tracings of maps, photographs, newspaper articles and other items from the PHR collection. The tracings will be on translucent paper, and will be hung in layers so that multiple traces will be visible at the same time — symbolizing the notion of history being a hodge-podge of different viewpoints and perspectives.
Prairie History Redux is curated by Blair Fornwald. There are drawing performances planned for Saturday Oct. 17, Saturday Nov. 7 and Saturday Dec. 5 at 1 p.m., and the project will culminate with an artist talk and reception on Jan. 16 at 1 p.m. at the RPL Theatre and Dunlop Resource Centre respectively.