Sunday, May 9, 2010

Library Chat

Let ‘s talk about the library.

With shovels already in the ground, the subject of the Bruce Street Library closing has received a lot of press.

There are two aspects to the concerns expressed by the public:
1. The perceived closing of ‘another’ service in the Downtown Milton area; and
2. It is a blow for seniors dependent on the library being in the neighbourhood.
3. I could add, speaking for north rural residents, the new location will be even further away for them.

With respect to “another” service leaving the downtown area, many link the library to Quality Greens’ closing. These are two distinct issues. One private (Quality Greens) and the other public – the library. While I’m on the subject, I would have preferred an A & E Centre/Central Library complex to be closer to the town hall creating a true civic centre, something that would have brought people downtown instead of sending them east.

Regardless, the writing on the wall was writ by the council sitting prior to the 2003 elections. While the disposition of the current library property has yet to be determined, it will be the subject of public consultations, which will begin shortly.

Many people favour, at the very minimum, a library pick up/drop off site in the area. This will entail a cost: will council support that cost? Given there has been no support from this council or previous ones, to even extend the hours of operation, in fact, the library board was forced to cut costs by closing the Beaty Branch at 8pm, it remains to be seen what a new council will do. Using volunteers is not an option as Library staff is unionized.

Justifications for moving out of Bruce Street, are:
• Insufficient parking
• Insufficient room for programs
• Inefficient and costly building maintenance
• too close to the new central library for effective service to the public, over-servicing one area
• Lack of accessibility – a huge consideration and cost given the imposition of new provincial legislation.

Some people have suggested the Bruce Street site be used for a new Seniors’ Centre but with over 800 members, and programs running daily, I doubt very much that there would be sufficient room.

We will have to await the consultant’s findings. In the meantime, let's chat.

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