About the library

  • About Father Harold Drake Library.
    Photo by Gaitree Boyd
  • The Fr. Harold Drake Library at St. Paul's College focuses on supporting the teaching and research needs of staff and students at St. Paul's College including:

    • University One
    • Jesuit Centre for Catholic Studies
    • Arthur V. Mauro Institute for Peace and Justice

The Library holds over 70,000 volumes including the following special collections:

  • Catholic Studies: Theology and history of the Catholic Church, contemporary Catholic issues.
  • Medieval Studies
  • Philosophy (including Bernard Lonergan)
  • Peace and Conflict Studies
  • History (European, British, Canadian)
  • French literature (20th century) and English literature

About Father Harold J. Drake, SJ (1915-1996)

Fr. Harold Drake entered the Noviciate at Guelph, Ontario in 1935. He proceeded into the Jesuit Seminary at Toronto in 1939. Later, he studied theology at West Baden College, Indiana. He was ordained there on June 16, 1948.

In 1953, Fr. Drake arrived in Winnipeg where he served as teacher and administrator at St. Paul's High School. In 1959 he came to St. Paul's College, University of Manitoba and replaced Fr. Cotter as Librarian. In 1966, Fr. Drake obtained his Library Science Degree at the Catholic University of America. Together with Peggy Gardiner, they ran the library of St. Paul's College. In 1969, when Ms. Gardiner retired, Fr. Drake became Head Librarian.

Beginning in 1958 Fr. Drake was an active member of the Knights of Columbus.  In 1984, he became a member of the Fourth Degree with the Captain Miles MacDonell Assembly. Between 1954 to 1969, he was Assistant Chaplain with the Canadian Armed Forces in Winnipeg and Shilo, MB. with the rank of Captain. In 1959, he served for many years as Chaplain for the Catholic Women's League. Starting in 1977, Fr. Drake enjoyed being Spiritual Leader on pilgrimages to Europe and the Holy Land.

He retired from St. Paul's College Library in 1992.  A year later, a dedication ceremony was held at St. Paul's College to name its library in his honour. Under his direction, the library had developed an excellent collection which today serves not only the needs of faculty and students, but the needs of the Catholic community at large.  In 1995. Fr. Drake celebrated his Golden Jubilee, 60 years in the Society of Jesus. On September 28, 1996 Fr. Harold Drake died.

Fr. Harold Drake, S.J. is remembered fondly by his colleagues at the University of Manitoba Libraries as a librarian committed to the highest level of service to his community and to his profession.

History of the library

In 1931, St. Paul's College affiliated with the University of Manitoba. There were no graduates that first year. However, from 1932-33, there were 47 students and 4 graduates. In 1935, the St. Paul's College Free Lending and Reading Library officially began as an aid to St. Paul's students. With 100 books, the library operated out of the parlor of St. Paul's College.

Five years later, the Most Reverend Archbishop Sinnott, founder of the College, officiated the formal opening of the Library to the public. The Library now contained 2000 holdings. In addition to supporting College programs, it could now fill a long wanted need in the Catholic community of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg. Library hours were from 3:30 to 9:30 daily. The loaning period was 2 weeks. Its collection consisted largely of general reading material including fiction and nonfiction. Some attention was given to Catholica, Philosophy, History and English.

By 1946, St. Paul's College formally established its own Library Guild. Holdings now topped 4000. The principle mandate of the Guild was to raise funds for more acquisitions and to increase the number of library patrons.

By 1950, the Library had an annual circulation rate of 12,000 volumes. In 1958, St. Paul's College moved to the University of Manitoba campus. Fr. A. Cotter, Librarian, and two students moved 20,000 books to the new location. "A hot dusty job for a hot day," proclaimed the Winnipeg Tribune. To which Fr. Cotter added, "nobody has invented a way of getting a book on or off a shelf except by hand."

Also in 1958, Peggy Gardiner was hired as librarian for the new library. She is credited for cataloguing and organizing the collection at this new site. In 1959, Fr. Harold Drake, sj, replaced Fr. Cotter. Peggy Gardiner left the library in 1969.

In 1992, Earle Ferguson replaced Fr. Drake as unit head, followed briefly by Jane Duffy, then Georgina Lewis who was unit head for 10 years. She retired August 2011. Jim Blanchard replaced Georgina as unit head and retired at the end of 2014. Nicole Michaud-Oystryk, former  head of Elizabeth Dafoe Library, was  head of the Fr. Harold Drake, SJ Library from 2014-17.  Joshua Herter was Reference Librarian for St. Paul’s, St John’s and Elizabeth Dafoe Library from September to May 2014/15. Katherine Penner was Catholic Studies Librarian from 2015 to 2017.

Bill Wsiaki began working for the University of Manitoba Libraries Sep.27, 1973. He began his career at the Architecture/Fine Arts Library, then transferred to St. Paul’s College a year later. On April 6, 1981, he replaced Jean England as Library Supervisor. On June 9, 2016, he received the University of Manitoba Service Award in recognition of excellence in service to the U of M community, innovation in service enhancement and promotion of a positive work environment. Bill celebrated 45 years of service at the U of M on Sep.27, 2018. He retired January 16, 2019.

Contact us

Father Harold Drake Library
St. Paul’s College
Room 119, St. Paul's College
70 Dysart Road
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB  R3T 2M6  Canada