The Town of Athabasca lies on the south bank of the Athabasca River at a point 12 miles north of the geographical centre of Alberta. It is located on Highway No. 2, 133 km north of Edmonton in section 20-66-W4 and Census Division No. 13. It is a hilly town, heavily wooded and interspersed with ravines. There has been a presence on this site since 1877. The hamlet of Athabasca Landing was incorporated as a village on June 5, 1905; incorporation as a town occurred on September 19, 1911. The word Landing was officially deleted on August 5, 1913.
In 1946, Eric Hodgson held a meeting of representatives of different community organizations to discuss establishing a library in Athabasca. A committee was struck and met in June 1946 to nominate a library board. The library was known as the Athabasca and District Public Library from 1946 to 1966, the Athabasca Municipal Library from 1966 to 1980, and the Athabasca Municipal Library and Archives from 1980 until it adopted its current name in 1988. The library was located in the Town Hall, the Community Centre, and the former Provincial Building until it moved to the Brick School Complex in 1979. The archival program began as early as 1957 when the library stored historic documents until a historical society could be formed. In 1979 a separate room was designated, and volunteers organized and solicited material for a history book published in 1986. The first part-time archivist was hired in 1988.
Geographical and cultural context
The Town of Athabasca is located on the elbow of the Athabasca River, the southernmost point on the river before it begins its journey to Ft McMurray and Lake Athabasca. The river was an important transportation corridor during the fur trade at the end of the 19th century into the early 20th century. Family histories and records of Metis and European immigrants, photos and records of the town are at the Archives. The town was incorporated in 1911.
Mandates/Sources of authority
Legal Authority: Alberta Libraries Act and Regulations and Town of Athabasca Bylaw #10-66 (Nov. 14, 1966)
Role of Library, policy no. 10: The Archives is dedicated to preserving and making accessible the heritage of the Town and region.
Access and Acquisition Policy: Athabasca Archives policy no. 430.
The Archivist is paid for 50 hours/month by the Town of Athabasca and supervises archives volunteers. Alice B. Donahue Library and Archives is administered by a volunteer board consisting of a Chair, Vice-chair, Secretary and Treasurer as well as paid members from the Town and County. The Archivist is supervised by the Board Chair. The ABDLA Board is responsible for the administration and maintenance of all archives material.
Records management and collecting policies
Athabasca Archives Access and Acquisition Policy no. 430, March 11, 2010
A. The Archivist will appraise, acquire, preserve, and make available for use archival records, ensuring their intellectual integrity and promoting responsible physical custodianship of these records, for the benefit of resent users and future generations, in accordance with the mandate and resources of the Alice B. Donahue Library and Archives.
B. The Archivist will perform these activities without discrimination.
C. The Archivist will encourage and promote the greatest possible use of the archives records, giving due attention to to personal privacy and confidentiality, and the preservation of the records.
D. The Archivist will carry out his or her duties according to accepted archival principles and practices.
E. The Archivist will contribute to the advancement of archival studies by developing personal knowledge and skills, and by sharing this information and experience with members of archival and related professions.
ABDLA is housed in the former Stucco School, attached to the historic 1913 Brick School in Athabasca. Archives storage includes several fire-proof filing cabinets, plan drawers, book cases and shelves and storage is approaching capacity.
Total Volume: 70 metres. Inclusive Dates: 1886 - current. Predominant Dates: 1900s - 1980s. Holdings consist of materials containing historical evidence about the Town of Athabasca, County of Athabasca, and related regions. These include a complete set of newspapers published in Athabasca from 1908 to the present, textual records, photographs, maps, blueprints, sound and moving images, a small reference library, periodical collection, and artifacts.
Finding aids, guides and publications