Expansion, Picton Gazette

The public library is the one community gathering place, both physical and virtual which provides equal access to all, supported by your tax dollars. If you support this statement made by the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries, we would ask you to read this article and when you are speaking with a candidate for municipal council pose three questions.

Your library is 80-per-cent municipally funded. It is important to the well-being of the library that council understands the contribution that the library makes to the community. In 2017 the library circulated 182,254 books, audio books, musical instruments and more. Almost 15,000 people attended a program at one of the library’s six branches.

Though the library is traditionally recognized as your source for books and print materials libraries are so much more today. The 14,942 people that attended programming at the library last year, came for a wide variety of reasons. Some were newcomers to the area looking to meet people and to learn about the community, others attended language classes, and many came just to have fun! We host groups playing bridge, mahjong, scrabble and chess.

The library brings in speakers to edify, educate and to entertain. This year we heard from David Frum, Charlotte Gray, historians, poets, scientists and artists. Topics range from glass art to artificial intelligence. Library technology staff are in high demand and always available to help with cell phone, PC or tablet questions. They work hard to introduce workshops that are topical and that keep us all up to date with technologies that are a part of life in our ever changing world.

Young parents bring their newborns to the library to obtain their first library card and borrow their first board books. Those children go on to attend our early literacy programs and to enjoy class visits to the library through their school career. My favourite day at school was always library day and I am pleased to hear my eight year old grandson expressing the same sentiment.

The library does not leave anyone out. If you cannot make it into one of our branches we will deliver books to you. The library regularly visits all of the nursing and retirement homes in the county and offers programming, most recently a drumming circle, to contribute to the quality of life of those to whom many activities are no longer possible.

The library offers a wide range of resources, culture, information, meeting places, advice, technology and connections free of charge to every person who enters its portals. By expressing your interest in the library you help ensure that all council candidates recognize it as an important issue. Here are some suggested questions to ask candidates:

– What do you know about programs and services at the six branches of the library in Prince Edward County?

– Each library offers a different and wide ranging array of services and resources for adults and children. Are you willing to support the funding of an innovative and progressive library system?

– The Picton branch expansion will increase library service across the county. Do you know the range of services available as part of the expansion?

The community and our County council have demonstrated strong support for the library in the past and in our recent fundraising efforts. Thank you. The board and staff look forward to greater opportunity to serve this community well. For more information about the expansion and to donate online, visit timetorenew.ca.

-Barbara Sweet