Tiny residents could soon have more library options

·3 min read

Some say, when in doubt, go to the library --- pretty soon ,Tiny Township residents will be able to go to three.

Head honchos from Midland, Penetanguishene, and Springwater libraries were at a recent council meeting to impress upon council the advantages of residents being able to access books and programming at their three libraries --- at no additional cost.

"This partnership is something we've been thinking about for years," said Midland Public Library CEO Crystal Bergsrtome, adding that her Springwater counterpart Jodie Delgado had already been on board with the idea when Pentanguishene Library executive director Linda Keenan joined hands with them.

"We meet Tiny residents every day and we keep hearing why do we have to pick one library over the other? What we're seeing now is why are we all stuck in these silos when we can support one another. It's not a competition, but it's a partnership. We think it's just a natural next step."

Delgado said the municipalities need to break up the "silos" and work together.

"It makes it incredibly easy to serve everybody," she added. "We can share ideas and work together and collaborate and provide the best library service."

Keenan said, in the past, Tiny residents have had to choose between the three libraries.

"And they had to fill out all these forms and fill out paperwork," she said. "A lot of them would pick one library and then want a program at the Penetang library. Then they would have to pay extra for the membership here. People would get frustrated."

This August, Penetanguishene and Midland reached a reciprocal agreement for taxpayers of the two towns. However, Tiny residents still had to choose one library and pay extra to become a member of the other one, she noted.

With their new idea, the township would pay each library a separate set annual fee based on an average of the past five years plus consumer price index increases to open up the doors of all three libraries to its residents, said Keenan, adding in the past her library has received up to $60,000 per year from the township.

For people to access the libraries, they would still be required to show proof of residence, but they will not have to fill out additional forms, she explained.

"It will save time for (Tiny Township) staff and the annoyance people feel at having to fill (forms) out," said Keenan.

This news was well received by Tiny residents.

"We are new to Tiny, but love libraries and have always supported them," said Tetyana Vieth. "Having access to multiple branches will expand options and resources. I would fully support this initiative."

Fellow reisdent Cecilia Galveias echoed Vieth's sentiment.

"We're in Tiny and fairly new to the area," said Galveias, adding she and her family have been in the area for a year now. "We registered with the Midland library last fall and have had such a great experience. (It) would be awesome to visit some other libraries and be able to check out books and use their services."

There was also support for the initiative around the council table.

"This is brilliant," said Coun. Cindy Hastings. "Thank you for getting together and forming this partnership. I'm looking forward to being able to go to any library. This is terrific."

She asked when the three librarians were hoping to implement the program.

All three said they already had approval from their boards to launch as soon as possible.

However, council sent the request back to staff to do some calculations and bring back a number to be discussed during the upcoming budget deliberations.

Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com