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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.