Libraries offer books and so much more

·2 min read

October is Public Library Month and to honour the importance of public libraries in the community, members of Leeds and Thousand Islands council did a tour of the township’s libraries.

The first stop was the Landsdowne Public Library, where Mayor Corinna Smith-Gatcke presented Library Board Chair Brenda Lolley with a gift – a brand new children’s book for the library and a certificate of appreciation.

“We’ve been fortunate in Lansdowne; we’ve come a long way since I was a kid. As a young mother, it was always a great place to spend time with my children, back when we didn’t have any money,” said Smith-Gatcke.

The Lansdowne library is more than just a book lending library, according to Tara Mendez, chief executive officer.

“We have the largest library of things in Eastern Ontario,” said Mendez.

That means that residents of the township can borrow everything from snow shoes to bird watching kits to basket balls, even sewing machines, metal detectors, birthday kits, toys and more.

“It was really important for our library to respond to the needs of our community,” said Mendez. “So rather than going out and buying five pairs of snow shoes to entertain visitors for the weekend, people can come here and borrow the snowshoes instead.”

The metal detector has been particularly popular, she added, and always comes back wrapped in stories.

“People might borrow the metal detector to find an engagement ring lost in a garden; there’s always a good story behind its use,” said Mendez.

Bird watching kits have been particularly popular during the pandemic, according to Mendez, and for good reason: they’re a complete 'how to.' Each kit includes one or two sets of binoculars, bird sheets to help identify birds common to the area, a bird watchers code of ethics and books about birds.

The three library branches in Leeds and the Thousand Islands share their resources, so that residents of Seeley’s Bay can access books or things from either the Lansdowne or Lyndhurst branches and vice versa.

“All of the branches are beautifully set up and share resources,” said Coun. Gordon Ohlke, council liaison on the library board.

Heddy Sorour, Local Journalism Initiative, Brockville Recorder and Times