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Hooper Wing: The 1910 Addition

The Library

A Sister with students A Sister with students
St. Thomas Aquinas Reading Room

A Sister with students Reading Room

The Library was also known as The St. Thomas Aquinas Reading Room, as that was where the Thomas Aquinas Society met. It was called the Blue Room, because of the blue patterned wallpaper that covered the walls. The library was often referred to as the Edna Harrison Memorial Library, after a young student. Edna Harrison died in 1906 at the age of 14, while a pupil at the school. Her father, Clinton A. Harrison, had been a hotel owner in Victoria. He endowed the library in her honour, and a picture of the girl sat, framed, atop one of the bookcases. This portrait was returned to the family after the closure of the Academy.

Many former students recall that the library was on the second floor, across from the art studios. This same room was also identified, by people who had attended the school during a different time period, as the Grade 12 classroom.

Glass doors enclosed the book shelves that lined the walls of the Library, and long tables were set up for reading. If students were chosen to read aloud before the school, they went to this room to practice; it was a peaceful place to sit and read. The quiet atmosphere was intimidating to some of the girls, and they quickly found the books they were looking for, checked them out with the supervising Sister, and left.

The subjects of the books on the shelves ranged from science to history, and included many volumes for religious study. "The Legion of Decency", a Catholic organization, published a list of the books and films that were thought to be incorrect reading and viewing, at times including works that many of the Sisters considered to be important pieces of literature. Periodically, more conservative Sisters would cull these books from the stacks, and send them to the incinerator. Gone With the Wind a well known story, (though NOT found in the library!) was deemed unsuitable, to the dismay of student Dorothy Tubman (Galvin) who was reading it at the time, and had promised it to her friends after she had finished.