The Whitsunday Region is home to four libraries located in Bowen, Cannonvale, Collinsville and Proserpine and are welcoming, inclusive spaces for all members of the community!
Our Mission is to be pivotal places enabling the community through social engagement, learning, innovation and fun.
Membership is free and we have something for everyone. Borrow books, magazines, DVDs and CDs. Read newspapers, surf the net, learn how to use computers, join in some of our free programs and activities, or just sit back and access e-resources from home 24/7! It’s your library – your space, check it out and enjoy!
For the safety of yourself and those around you hand sanitising products and gloves are available for use within our branches during this time of COVID-19 uncertainty, and 1.5 metre social distancing is required at all times.
Monday to Friday: 8.15am - 4.45pm
Saturday: 8.45am - 11.45am (except Collinsville)
67 Herbert Street
Bowen QLD 4805
Shop C1, Whitsunday Plaza
8 Galbraith Park Drive
Cannonvale QLD 4802
Cnr Stanley and Conway Streets
Collinsville QLD 4804
12 Main Street
Proserpine QLD 4800
Bowen 4761 3670
Cannonvale 4846 9400
Collinsville 4785 5366
Proserpine 4945 0275
History of the Proserpine Library
On 29 March 1958 the Proserpine Municipal Library was first opened on Main Street. Before that a small library with a limited circulation was operated by the School of Arts under the patronage of the Proserpine Sugar Mill.
Miss P Banks of Ryde was appointed as Librarian on 17 January 1958 having been set the task of establishing the Municipal Library in an old wooden house which had been purchased, shifted to the rear of the new Council Chambers and renovated to house 1,200 miscellaneous books donated by the School of Arts and around 1,000 adult non-fiction books loaned from the Public Library of Brisbane.
On 2 December 1961 the Honorable E. Evans, M.L.A. (Minister for Development, Mines, Main Roads and Electricity) officially opened the Proserpine Shire Council Civic Centre together with a newly built library at the rear of the building.
The library’s current premises were opened by the Honorable R. Borbridge M.L.A (Premier of Queensland) on Thursday, 16 April 1998. The building was architecturally designed by Barry Elliss and built by Woollam Constructions, who received a Master Builder’s Construction Award for public and community facilities in 1999.
A major extension was added in August 2004 with a time capsule being buried under the concrete path leading to the side entrance of the library.
History of the Bowen Library
In 1865 the School of Arts was built including a library section known as the Reading Room. This was located at Herbert Street where the current library is now. Within a few years the library consisted of 600 books.
In 1876 the Reading Room was destroyed by a cyclone and unfortunately this set a pattern of things to come. A few years later in 1879 a second School of Arts was erected only to be destroyed by another cyclone in 1884. Not to be deterred by these natural disasters the School of Arts was again rebuilt in 1886.
During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the Reading Rooms were used extensively, and magazines were especially popular. Within a 40-year period the library increased its supply of books from approximately 2,500 books to 6,500 books.
On April’s Fool Day 1958 a tropical cyclone dealt its final blow to the School of Arts building. Since 1954, the Bowen Town Council had been making moves to take over the Bowen School of Arts and Library as a municipal activity. This was eventually achieved and agreed upon by all parties and the current library was built and officially opened by the Chairman of the Council on 14th October 1967.
The library went ahead in leaps and bounds especially with the introduction of computerised technology. In 1996, a Library Management System was introduced, and paper records were converted to computer. The next year saw internet services becoming available to the public.
In 2012 the library had over 22,000 items and the building had a facelift with the installation of new glass panels along the front of the building along with automatic door and book return chute.
History of the Cannonvale Library
From humble beginnings in the early 1990s, Cannonvale Library has grown to become the busiest of Whitsunday Regional Libraries.
The Cannonvale/Airlie Beach area of the then Whitsunday Shire was growing rapidly and there was a push from “Beach” residents to have their own library, rather than having to travel to Proserpine to access reading material from the library at the Council Civic Centre. When the Whitsunday Kindergarten Association moved to its new location in Schnapper Street, a group of locals got together and set up a small, limited hours library in the vacated Cannon Valley State School building on Abel Road. Stocked with an assortment of donated books, it eventually folded due to lack of volunteers, poor location, and poor condition of the building.
In 1993 Council recognized the need to extend its library service, and a small shop was leased at Whitsunday Shopping Centre, Cannonvale. Mrs. Christine Heiser was employed as library assistant, and on 7 September that year Cannonvale Library opened to the public, offering a limited collection of resources for borrowing.
In 1995 the library was relocated to the Cannonvale Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE campus, sharing space with the TAFE Library, but operating independently as the second branch of Whitsunday Shire Libraries. Space was again at a premium, but the move was flagged as an interim measure until a suitable site could be found for a new purpose-built library. The estimated timeframe for this was 18 months, however the library remained at TAFE for 11 years. Library services increased during this period, with photocopying, computers and internet services becoming available to the public. Weekly Storytime was also introduced, but due to space constraints, library assistants delivered sessions at the Airlie Beach PCYC in Jubilee Pocket.
In October 2003 a suggestion was put forward to further integrate TAFE and Council Library Services, with a proposed sharing of staff, collections and information systems. This however did not eventuate, and negotiations were started by Council to develop an alternate venue for its library in Cannonvale.
In 2004 various proposals were considered, including enhancing an existing council owned building on the foreshore at Cannonvale Beach opposite Cannonvale State School; relocation to premises at 13 Waterson Way, Airlie Beach, and a library to be incorporated within the Airlie Beach Marketplace development (Centro), now known as Whitsunday Plaza.
Negotiations for fitting out a library in a new building at the Centro Shopping Centre firmed as the preferred option in 2005. A five-year lease was taken out on Shop C1 Centro in 2006, and the TAFE lease was terminated. Jointly funded by Whitsunday Shire Council and the Queensland Department of Local Government, Cannonvale Library - renamed “Beach Library” - was officially opened in the new location by Mayor Mario Demartini on Saturday 23 September 2006.
The modern layout and bigger building provided a welcoming space for the community, and enabled library events and activities to be held on site. The shopping centre location was also popular with residents. The name “Beach Library” was chosen because the Centro site was still considered temporary, pending construction or securement of a library building large enough to cater for population growth happening within the Whitsunday township area. Permanent locations from Jubilee Pocket through to Cannonvale were being considered and the generic name would remain relevant should the library move to another suburb.
The library has weathered two major cyclones at the current site, with temporary closures in 2010 (7 weeks) and 2017 (3 months) due to damage sustained during tropical cyclones Ului and Debbie. It remains at the Centro (now Whitsunday Plaza) precinct today, although the name has gone full circle. During Jennifer Whitney’s term as Mayor of Whitsunday Regional Council (2012-2016), the name reverted to Cannonvale Library to avoid confusion as to actual location, as post-amalgamation with Bowen Shire Council in 2008, there were many beach areas throughout the region.