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Local library celebrated

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The Fort Frances Public Library and Technology Centre recently held a celebration for Ontario Public Library Week (Oct. 20-26).

Last Tuesday members of the public were invited to meet new staff at the local library including new CEO Joan MacLean, while enjoying a celebration cake and tour of the facility.

Library board chair Robin Dennis shared a speech at the event recognizing all of the great contributions libraries have on people's lives.

“Ontario's Public Libraries strengthen local communities,” she said.

“It is imperative that all of us continue to support our local public libraries.”

“We are a vitally important part of a successful community-bringing people together in a safe and welcoming space for all,” Dennis added.

She said the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre is a community hub for residents of the district.

“You can wander into the library any time during the day and observe many different activities taking place,” Dennis noted.

"Story hour in the children's area, teens and tweens using computer terminals to play games or do homework, people sitting in different areas throughout the library reading.

“People accessing the study rooms to further educational goals, booking the Shaw room for a host of different uses, meetings, social functions, training sessions, and crafts to move through," she continued. "The possibilities are endless.”

Dennis spoke to the variety of items available to lend at the local library as well, including fishing rods, walking sticks, seeds, DVDs, and an incredible selection of literature.

“There are game nights, movie nights, knitting club, book club, and we are always open to new ideas,” she remarked.

The library had a busy summer with staff changes and in addition to the new CEO, it hired a new IT co-ordinator Jermey Gruttner, clerk Fiona Gallagher, and welcomed back two retirees as on-call staff.

“It has kept us all on our toes this summer, hiring and interviewing and recruiting, so welcome all of you,” Dennis smiled.

She also lauded the hard work and dedication of the library's previous CEO Caroline Goulding who got the library accredited with the help of its board and staff.

“Accreditation is a designation we are very proud of,” Dennis enthused.

“The process helps library boards, CEOs and library staff assess their governance, management, and services, against best practices,” she added.

“It's the gold standard for excellence in libraries.”

Dennis also thanked the Friends of the Library for hosting the celebration on Tuesday and their efforts to make the facility a wonderful place to visit.

“We wouldn't have the variety of programming without the Friend of the Library,” she noted.

“They raise money throughout the year and donate generously to many library endeavours as well as volunteer in the library's day to day tasks.”

Meanwhile, MacLean is grateful to work in a facility that is truly appreciated by town residents.

“I love how the library's held in such affection by the community . . . so many people donate their money and time and resources to help out with the things that the library wants to do,” she said.

MacLean also lauded the effect libraries have on those who use them.

“I really believe in the power of public libraries and I have firsthand experience seeing how public libraries can improve and change people's lives,” she said.

“It's an element to your life where there's connection to the community, there's connection to the outside world in just the eternal kind of thing you get from reading and learning about the world in general.”

Meanwhile, the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre building is celebrating its 10th anniversary in the summer of 2020 and the initial planning stages have begun.

“Trunk or Treat” is being hosted in the parking lot this Thursday (Oct. 31) and MacLean said the number of donations received so far has been outstanding.

And on Friday (Nov. 1) at 10:15 a.m. the library will be celebrating the opening of their Science North THINK Hub, which also houses their Makerspace technologies.

Local MPP Greg Rickford will be in attendance and the public is encouraged to come out as well.

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