Library funding will improve accessibility

The Ontario Trillium Foundation announced $224,000 in funding for libraries in Northwestern Ontario on Friday, which will be used primarily to increase accessibility in those in Rainy River District.
“This is the first time Trillium has been open to libraries, at least in recent years,” noted Margaret Sedgwick, head librarian at the Fort Frances Public Library.
The local library received $9,000 to purchase equipment that will make the children’s department more accessible for all age groups.
“It’s for shelving, because the shelving is too high right now,” Sedgwick said.
The library currently is developing plans for either an expansion of the existing building or construction of a new one. But Sedgwick said the money will benefit the new library, as well.
“If and when we do get a new library, [the shelving] will be transportable,” she noted.
Viola Medicine, librarian at the Rainy River First Nations Resource Centre, said the $8,500 in Trillium funding it received Friday was “very good news.”
“We’re using it mainly for special needs children,” she explained.
The resource centre plans to buy talking books, as well as a cassette player and headphones for children who need extra help with reading.
“So they can have their own corner,” Medicine noted.
Meanwhile, the Emo Public Library received $9,300 to purchase equipment that will create a more friendly environment for library users.
And the Rainy River Public Library was given $9,000 to purchase new material for its reference section as well as to increase collections available in alternate formats.
The maximum amount of funding available to each facility was $15,000 but because of the large number of libraries that applied, most received much less than that.
Altogether, 28 libraries across Northwestern Ontario received funding, in amounts ranging from $4,000 to $11,800.
The funding is part of the Trillium Foundation’s Strategic Granting Initiative for Library Boards, which gives grants to libraries in Ontario municipalities serving 20,000 people or less, to First Nations libraries, and to local services boards that offer library services.
The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Ministry of Culture, and receives $100 million annually through the province’s charity casino initiative.
The money then is used to fund projects in arts and culture, environment, human and social services, and sports and recreation.