The Whitestone Public Library is getting a new name to match its expansion.
It will now be called the Whitestone Public Library and Technology Centre to better reflect the technology services it will be able to offer.
Library vice-chair Cathy Lamb said that the Whitestone Library is a social hub for the Whitestone community and keeping people connected via technology was an important goal.
“We are actually going to be offering a lot of virtual programming,” said Lamb. “People who don’t feel comfortable coming into the library can still participate in the programming.”
The instructor would be at the library itself and people can join in online, she said, adding that the book club may also be offered virtually.
“We are looking at different ways of reaching out to people,” she said. “As we know, a lot of seniors don’t feel comfortable leaving their homes or going into public places (right now).”
“With the new enhancements to our technology we will be able to do that kind of outreach.”
Whitestone received a $150,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation for the library expansion, as well as a $150,000 grant from FedNor. According to Coun. Joe Lamb, these foundations rarely invest in libraries.
However, creating a technology centre within the library and being able to enhance businesses in town by offering meeting rooms and technology training was, in Lamb’s opinion, the reason the municipality received the funding.
Outside of federal and provincial funding, the Whitestone community raised $100,000 itself to fund the new library project.
“It’s truly unbelievable,” said Lamb, who is the council representative on the library board.
“We ended up with $400,000-worth of our project that was brought in before the municipality had to spend a nickel.”
The estimated cost of the project is $705,221.27 and it will include an additional 1,400 square feet, bringing the building size to 2,500 square feet.
Another goal for the new library and technology centre is to be able to loan mobile USB internet sticks to patrons to use as a personal internet hub, said Lamb.
Construction is nearing its final phases and the library hopes to be able to begin offering curbside pickup in January 2021.
“It’s truly a community effort …,” said Lamb of the expansion project. “And something I think will last for generations.”
Sarah Cooke is a Local Journalism Reporter with the Parry Sound North Star, and Almaguin News. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada
Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com