Library History

History of the Library at Saint Mary's

The original library on the Robie St. campus was the Horne Library, in the McNally building (completed in 1952). It was located on the 2nd floor of the main wing, and today is the Faculty of Arts Commons.

In 1965 the library moved to the Burke Building. To accomodate the growing collection, less than ten years later, plans were developed to construct a new library. 

The Patrick Power Library was completed in 1975.

The atrium, which joins the library, Science Building, and Burke Building, was completed in October 2011. This construction included significant changs to the layout of the first floor, including a new entrance to the library and new locations for the circulation and reference desks.

Who was Patrick Power?

Patrick Power (1863)


Patrick Power was a prominent Nova Scotia businessman and politician. Money from his estate was donated to Saint Mary’s University beginning in 1913.

A brief biography:

  • Patrick Power was born in 1815 at Kilmacthomas, Ireland, to Lawrence and Katherine Power.
  • He immigrated to Nova Scotia with his parents in 1823 and received his education in Halifax and Antigonish.
  • In 1832, he began a retail business in Halifax, and later a prosperous dry goods firm, Patrick Power and Company.
  • He married Ellen Gaul in 1840, with whom he had five sons and three daughters.
  • He became a director of the People’s Bank of Halifax and involved himself in the work of charitable organizations, including the Charitable Irish Society, which still exists today.
  • He was Commissioner of the Poor Asylum from 1857 to 1874, and appointed to the Halifax Board of School Commissioners from 1860 to 1869.
  • In recognition of his work on various boards and commissions dealing with education and the welfare of the poor and destitute, Patrick Power was made a knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pope Pius IX in 1870.
  • Patrick Power died on February 23, 1881. Upon his death, he left a sizeable bequest to be used for the establishment of a Catholic orphanage and boys’ school in Halifax.

More on Patrick Power at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography and at Wikipedia.

Patrick Power Library
Mailing address:
Saint Mary's University
923 Robie Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 3C3