Patrons give new library a thumbs up

Duane Hicks

It’s often been said that in the quietude of a library, one can hear a pin drop.
But when it comes to the new Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre, it would be more apt to say one can hear jaws hitting the floor.
With the grand opening of the new facility underway this week, many residents are impressed with what they see.
“I am blown away,” said Mike Anderson, who was at the library with his family Monday evening.
“It’s beautiful. It’s amazing,” he added. “To be honest, this has exceeded my expectations.”
Anderson was particularly impressed with the Shaw Communications room.
“That beautiful meeting room, that’s going to be used a lot,” he predicted. “We need something like that in this town, really.
“It will be perfect.”
Anderson also called the facility “modern, clean, and neat,” pointing out that even finding a movie in the DVD section is much easier now.
“I’ve been in the children’s section and it’s really very nice,” said Sherree Denby, adding the SMARTtable and toy shelves in that department were two highlights for her and daughter, Theanna.
“It’s so nice that the library is near the park and the [Memorial Sports Centre],” Denby noted, saying it’s very convenient for families to use.
Denby, who was relaxing in a chair and reading in the periodicals section as the Borderland Community Orchestra warmed up Monday, said the environment was “comfortable” and “beautiful,” with the large windows letting in plenty of natural light.
“It’s nice they have enough room to have the orchestra play,” she added. “I feel like we’re in a big city here.”
Denby said the improvements over the old library are so impressive, she’ll likely come to the new facility “a lot more often.”
She also could see the building becoming more of a meeting place for friends and groups (the latter of which could use the meeting room).
“It’s tough to think of just a couple things that are good,” said 12-year-old Mitchell Riordon, who frequents the library nearly every day.
“They did get lots more books,” he remarked. “That helps because I was in a couple series, and they cut off right in the middle.
“And now they’ve got some more books for it.
“Another thing is the computers, of course,” Riordon added. “The ones at the old library barely had any access to anything, and the [new] library’s gotten a lot more popular because of the computers.
“That will encourage more kids to read books, I’m guessing and hoping.”
Riordon also lauded how spacious and well-organized the new library is.
“It’s very nice,” he said. “The old one was, in my opinion, a little bit cluttered, and this is very open.”
Riordon noted that young people his age are using the library (some of whom he’s suggested reading for), and he hopes to see even more follow suit as they learn more about what they can find there.
“It’s beautiful,” echoed Vicki Loney, who was visiting from Emo on Monday evening.
“It’s nice and open, clean and bright,” she said. “The children’s area, I checked that out.
“I am a teacher, so that was kind of a pull for me.”
Facts about the new library
•Site work for the new Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre began last July. The building, located at 601 Reid Ave., opened its doors June 1, with the official opening taking place June 21;
•The facility was designed by John Knox of Chamberlain Architect Services, who worked with the library building committee, consisting of project manager Brian Avis, Community Services manager George Bell, chief librarian Margaret Sedgwick, board chair Joyce Cunningham, and fundraising chair Mark Kowalchuk;
•The general contractor for the project was Aurora Construction. Local subcontractors who worked on it were M.L. Caron Electric, Daryl’s Custom Landscapes Ltd., and Clow Darling Ltd. (Ron Campbell);
•The building is 13,770 sq. ft. in size;
•It cost roughly $4.9 million, $865,000 of which was raised locally;
•The facility has a meeting room and two study rooms, as well as seating for 90 people;
•Its collection size is 60,000 books, DVDs, CDs, and other resources;
•It has a computer lab, as well as computer stations throughout the building. It has a total of 39 personal computers for public use;
•It has adaptive equipment stations for the vision-impaired;
•It has several inviting reading areas, including one with a fireplace, a well as an outdoor reading area;
•The facility has a teen corner, and a children’s department with plenty of space for kids’ activities;
•The stained glass windows from the old library have been moved over and incorporated into a wall of the new building;
•The Shaw Community Hub features a SMARTboard, as well as audio-, web-, and video-conferencing features;
•The building was designed with several “green” components, such as abundant natural lighting, a solar water heater, and heat recovery from the adjacent area; and
•The library currently employs three full-time staff (Margaret Sedgwick, Andrea Avis, and Janet Bell), four part-time staff (Bonnie Shute, Carolyn Stang, Evelyn Norris, and Penny Shumaker), and four students (Chantel McLeod, Kaila Elders, Scott Walsh, and Kayla Brady).