Library offering free tennis racket rentals

Sam Odrowski

With the newly-surfaced courts and the “Rent-a-Racket” program at the Fort Frances Public Library, there seems to be no better time to play tennis here in town.
“Try tennis, see what it’s like and see if it is for you,” library CEO Caroline Goulding enthused.
“It’s very low-barrier to use and tennis is a sport that you can have fun with even if you don’t know how to play it,” she noted.
“If you don’t know all the rules, you can still hit a ball around and have a really fun time.”
Anyone who lives in Rainy River District is eligible for a free library card, which is the only requirement when renting a racket.
“You just have to come in, show your library card, and you check them [the rackets] out the same way you would check out any kind of book,” Goulding said.
The racket rental program has been running for a month now and the response has been fantastic, she noted.
“People are very excited about it,” Goulding lauded.
The program was made possible through funding granted by the Healthy Kids Community Challenge run out of the Northwestern Health Unit.
It’s aimed at reducing kids’ screen time and promoting healthy outdoor activities like tennis.
The idea came after the courts behind Fort Frances High School were built last year and became even more appealing once they were resurfaced in early July.
“There had been lots of talk of how we had these brand-new tennis courts and we thought this might be a great way of making it more accessible to everyone,” Goulding explained.
“Tennis rackets just seemed like a natural extension of the programs we were already offering,” she reasoned.
The library also offers programs in which card-holders can rent Nordic walking poles, nature backpacks, and fishing rods and tackle–all of which have seen a great response from the community.
“We have a lot of people come in and they’re surprised at what they can find in their local library,” Goulding remarked.
She’s glad to see another great library-run program come to fruition.
“We’re incredibly grateful and just happy that we have a new service to provide the community,” Goulding enthused.
She also is encouraging everyone in the area to make good use of the tennis courts before Old Man Winter rolls around. 
“Enjoy some of that nice weather before it all goes away on us,” Goulding smiled.