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Over 200 attend Aberfoyle library opening

by David Meyer

ABERFOYLE - It has been a long wait, but Puslinch Township residents now have a new library.

The $2-million structure sits at the site of the old library on Brock Road (County Road 46).

County Treasurer Craig Dyer said while all the bills are not yet in, construction costs are likely a little under budget and the building was completed on time.

County library board chairman Mark MacKenzie was master of ceremonies and noted the county has 14 branches and over 3,200 activities per month across those branches.

“They were so excited they opened it last week,” he said of the staff that spent the previous year in a portable structure while the Aberfoyle building was completed.

County Warden Chris White said in an interview libraries are important and perhaps more so in rural areas than in cities.

“These kinds of places in small communities are more than libraries,” White said. “They’re community hubs.”

He said he knows in Marden a group of women meet regularly at the library for coffee, and it would please him if the Aberfoyle building also attracts social visitors.

He told the audience of over 200 citizens, including Aberfoyle Public School’s grade 2 class, “It’s a wonderful day for this community. What a wonderful building. There is a ‘wow’ effect.”

He added because of its libraries, many of them built since 2000, “The county is the envy of Ontario and maybe the whole Commonwealth.”

Puslinch Mayor Dennis Lever thanked “everyone involved. It’s taken a long time for this vision.” He noted the building will contain a high speed internet connection that will be particularly useful in a community where there are places without that service.

He also noted service will improve. In the old building, services was 24 hours a week “and you had to know which days it was open.”

Now service is available 45 hours a week and the library is open every day except Sunday.

“Local residents can access a wealth of information instantly through state-of-the -art equipment and high speed Internet access,” Lever said.

Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott was one of several speakers who acknowledged former Puslinch Mayor Brad Whitcombe, who headed the county library committee for years, oversaw the building of many new libraries and got the Aberfoyle building started.

Arnott said the building will give residents “a portal to the world through their community.”

Betty Anderson, the president of the township historical society, said the group formed in 1980 and its collection was a filing cabinet in the old library. Then, as the collection grew, the group shared space with the OPP.

Now, she said, it has space in the new building and members are very grateful that Whitcombe promoted that usage from the beginning when the library came onto the county’s schedule.

Architect Lloyd Grinham said he hopes the building lasts as long as the Carnegie libraries in Wellington County have endured. Most of them are nearing a century old.

Matt Potsma, of buildings TRP Construction General Contractors, said the building is “something TRP is proud to be part of.”

After the opening ceremony and ribbon cutting, everyone was invited inside to marvel at the 5,000 square feet of space  and the increased collection that is now available to them.  

The branch also meets energy efficient building requirements and has sustainable building features that reduce overall energy consumption.

The branch is completely accessible and includes a multi-purpose room available for public rental, the meeting space for the Puslinch Historical Society, public computer terminals and is equipped with wireless Internet access. A gas fireplace provides a pleasant reading environment.

“The county’s barrier-free accessibility standards ensure that every resident can access the library,” said Mackenzie. “The new Puslinch Library branch has assistive technology, automatic doors and accessible washrooms and parking.”

County Chief Librarian Murray McCabe added, “The Puslinch library branch offers a wealth of electronic and print resources that will meet the educational and recreational needs of this vibrant community.

“Staff look forward to assisting both new and long time library patrons from this modern and very beautiful community facility.”

 

September 23, 2011

 
 

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