Our History

Initially, the idea for a children's library in Montreal was the brainchild of Elizabeth Murray, who with the help of the Local Council (later the Montreal Council of Women), formed a committee to establish a children’s library under the chairmanship of Maysie McSporran.

The Montreal Children’s Library began operating in 1929 in a building under the control of the Fraser Institute on Dorchester Boulevard (now known as René-Lévesque). It was incorporated in Quebec under a Private Act on July 2, 1938. Over the years, its purpose has evolved from simply providing books to offering innovative library programs and services to children and families in areas throughout the city of Montreal where municipal library services are not available.


Over the years, the MCL has operated multiple branches:

  • 1931: A branch opened at the Montreal West Public Library and remained open until 1977.

  • 1932: A branch opened on Mackay Street and was operated until 1968. In 1970, the branch was reopened at Richmond Square (Tyndale St-Georges Community Centre) and is now known as our Antares Branch.

  • 1937: Hampstead Branch was launched and remained in operation until 1939. 

  • 1941: Rosemount Bilingual Library was established and remained open until 1950. 

  • 1948: A branch was opened in the Park Extension borough and was operated until 2003 when it was relocated to the Centre Loisirs René Goupil and renamed the Jean Rivard branch.  Today, the branch is known as our Polaris Branch.

  • 1957: Our main branch was relocated from the Fraser Institute on Dorchester to Strathearn School. In 1965, the library moved to Devonshire School and was subsequently moved to the Atwater Library and Computer Centre building in 1981. In 2014, the branch was moved to its current location on Pierce Street and is now known as our Vega Branch.

  • 1961: Pointe St-Charles Branch was founded and closed in 1984.

  • 1963: Montreal North Branch was established and remained open up until 1966.

  • 1967: A branch was incorporated at the Macdonald House and was relocated to Sun Youth in 1984 and remained open until 1996. 

  • 1978: A branch was opened at the YMCA located on Drummond Street and operated until 1980.

  • 1991: A branch known as the Centennial Branch was created at the John XXIII School and renamed the St-Raymond Branch in 2002. It remained in operation until 2005.

  • Antares (formerly Richmond Square) in Little Burgundy,

  • Vega (formerly the Atwater) in Ville-Marie.

There is presently one branch operating in the city: