Dorset library branch transitions to depot Sept. 1
By Chad Ingram
The Dorset branch of the Haliburton County Public Library will be converted to a library depot effective Sept. 1, and library staff will be hosting workshops to help residents with the transition.
For the past couple of years, Algonquin Highlands council has been having discussions regarding the branch, located in the township-owned Dorset Recreation Centre. The branch, staffed just eight hours a week, had much lower circulation numbers than other branches. The township issued a community survey last summer, and the majority of respondents to that survey indicated they supported turning the space where the branch had been located into a multi-purpose community hub space.
As of September, while a collection of books will no longer be housed at the site, Dorset residents will still be able to place holds on and pick up books from the library’s collection, with deliveries taking place each Saturday.
“People can place holds and pick up in Dorset, and in fact, they’ll be able to pick up whenever they want, whenever the community centre is open,” says library CEO Bessie Sullivan. “For some users, it will actually be an improvement in service.”
“The collection will not be there, but the access to Haliburton County Public Library still is,” Sullivan says.
To assist residents with the transition, library staff will be hosting workshops in early September.
“We’ll be offering some courses to teach people how to manage their accounts online,” Sullivan says.
Those workshops, to take place at the recreation centre, are scheduled for Sept. 10 at 10 a.m., and Sept. 24. Sullivan says library staff can host more as need be.
Residents can visit www.haliburtonlibrary.ca for details, or call 705-457-2241.
Sullivan says there has been some confusion throughout the province since the provincial government reduced funding to the Southern Ontario Library Service this spring. Following that funding reduction, SOLS ceased its inter-library loan system, allowing libraries throughout the province to share books with one another. Sullivan stresses that within the county system, books are still moved between branches.
“We’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of people just don’t understand the difference between inter-branch loans in a library system, and the provincial inter-library loan,” she says. “Our users are pretty educated, but just in case there’s any confusion, we’re still moving materials around the county, and people can still borrow from any branch and return to any branch. That has not changed. What has changed is our ability to borrow things around the province, and that’s going to be up for debate at budget time.”
When Haliburton County council begins its 2020 budget discussions, councillors will hear about the logistics and cost of continuing an inter-library loan service.
Dysart et al Mayor Andrea Roberts, who is chair of the library board, led a county delegation to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
“Our main message was to advocate for fair pricing for electronic and audio books,” Roberts told the Times, but added members had also mentioned the funding reduction to SOLS, and how it was negatively impacting rural library systems.