Sunday, April 21, 2024

Libraries Are More Than Just Books

Editor,

I am writing in response to the letter from Walter Kuitert who is “not pleased” with the cost of running the library. While I have no intention of trying to change his mind, I would like to offer a broader perspective to those who might have thought, upon reading his letter, that he has a point.

If all the library did was loan out books, yes, the price does seem high. However, even if that is all the library did, providing books to read for free has a value you can’t count in dollars.

What is the value of continuing education for those who can’t afford to buy the books they want or need? What is the value of that person to person connection going to the library offers? What is the value of the enthusiastic young reader having access to hundreds of books, regardless of their parents’ economic status?

Thankfully, the Meaford Library provides so much more.

Our library is the only place in town where you can send a fax, have an image or document scanned, or have copies made for a minimal fee. Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. you can get free tech assistance with your phone, laptop, or computer, and get answers to your tech related questions. The library also offers free virtual Service Canada appointments every Wednesday to get the assistance you might need in this area. You can log onto the library’s free Wi-Fi or use one of the library’s computers. Need access to information when the library isn’t open? Their e-resources are available 24/7.

There are recreational, creative, and educational programs and clubs for every age and covering so many interests. If you need a place to hold a meeting or workshop, they have a rooms for this too: free if what you’re offering is not for profit, or for a nominal fee if it is. You can advertise your not-for-profit on the bulletin board too.

Let’s not overlook how our library is accessible to those with mobility, sight, and hearing challenges. Our library is also LGBTQ aware, safe, and friendly. It also offers free mental health walk-in support. I am sure these services are invaluable to those who need and use them.

I’ve used libraries from Roberts at U of T, to the then (22 yrs ago) tiny community library in Fenelon Falls. In my experience, the Meaford Library is one of the most helpful, friendly staffed, well used, appreciated, and community oriented libraries I’ve ever had the pleasure to be a part of. All of the services, clubs, programs, and people involved go together to create a diverse, welcoming community, and you just can’t put a price on community.

For more information about the Meaford Library’s offerings (I didn’t have room in this letter to cover everything offered and available), please see their web-page. Go to meaford.ca and click the blue Meaford Public Library button on the right, or better yet, stop in and say hello.

Marianne Hay, Meaford

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