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The countdown has begun with less than a month to the opening of the long-awaited new Meaford Public Library.

CEO Cathie Lee advises that the target date for the opening of the new library facility at intersection of Sykes and Trowbridge Streets is Monday, October 26.

The logistics of moving a library is daunting but it’s business as usual now till Saturday, October 17, when the doors of the existing library close to the public one last time. Movers arrive on Monday, October 19, and the transfer of books and equipment begins. Behind the scenes, staff has been sorting, packing, cataloging new acquisitions, and preparing all the library books for the Radio Frequency Identification (RFI) technology that will be one of many high-tech features in the new library.

In September, library staff announced three substantial donations that put the library fundraising campaign over the top. The Rotary Club of Meaford donated $127,000; the Stanley Knight Heritage Society $50,000; and the W. Garfield Weston Foundation (Loblaws) $65,000. More than $780,000 has been raised by the Meaford Public Library Fundraising Campaign.

"It warms my heart to see that so many folks in our community see the value of a new accessible library,” Lee said. “The success of this campaign can certainly be attributed to the hard work of so many library champions over the past few decades."

The Meaford Public Library Fundraising Campaign Committee was appointed by the municipal Council in 2018. It was formed as a partnership among the library, the municipality, and the Friends of the Meaford Public Library. The original goal was to raise $750,000.

The Rotary Club of Meaford approached the library a few years ago wanting to be involved, according to Amy Solecki, Community Outreach Co-ordinator. “One of the club’s focuses is youth. Of the $127,000 donated, $62,000 is earmarked for technology in the Project Room, a room adjacent to the teen space in the new library,” she said.

The technology portion of the donation will allow the library to offer new and emerging tech options, such as ten hot-spots that can be borrowed just like a book and give Internet service to up to 20 people, podcasting equipment, a green screen, lots of software, and new MacBook Pro laptops.”

Rooms in the new library will be named in recognition of donations of $50,000 or more, such as the Rotary, the Stanley Knight, and the Weston Foundation donations, according to Lee. “It’s gratifying to know that the Rotarians, the Stanley Knight family, and our local grocery store owners, Bill and Barb MacDonald, recognize the value of the library and the strong relationship we have with the community,” she said.

Due to COVID-19, grand opening celebrations have been postponed till next spring.

Photo: The ‘wave wall’ in the new Meaford Public Library building will display the names of individuals, families, groups, or businesses who have donated $5,000-plus. Rooms will be named in recognition of donors who have donated $50,000-plus.