Morrisburg library information meeting ends up being all about Williamsburg

 

The crowd was much smaller but the concerns were mostly the same at the May 16 SD&G Library Board hosted public information session which took place at the Morrisburg library branch.

About 30 people attended the meeting. Most had previously attended the meeting in Williamsburg the week before.

While this information session was meant to show the people of Morrisburg what the board has planned for the new branch, 95 percent of the questions asked and concerns raised from the floor were from the same people who are continuing to actively fight to keep the Williamsburg branch of the library open.

Karen Franklin made the County library presentation that rationalized and explained the need for change. 

“If we don’t make changes, the library system is at risk of sinking into oblivion,” she said. “Change is necessary and change can be good.”

Because the new branch location in Morrisburg will see foot traffic of 300-500 people per day passing through the doors of the building, they hope they will be able to attract some new users. Presently, about 12 percent of South Dundas residents are active library users.

At this meeting, as at the meeting in Williamsburg, South Dundas council was accused of not working for what the people want. 

Although some members of South Dundas council were at the meeting, they were there strictly in an observatory role. 

Library board chair Bill McGimpsey did comment on this point. “They too are elected to represent the other 10,000 people of South Dundas who are not using the library,” he said.

South Dundas deputy mayor Jim Locke did point out that council has yet to declare an official position on the matter and that will be done at the next council meeting.

Regardless of South Dundas council’s official position, the Library board has already decided that the consolidation is taking place and that the Williamsburg branch is closing. 

Even if South Dundas council supports the idea of maintaining a library in Williamsburg, the library is being displaced from their current home as of August 1, and the library board has no funds at their disposal to make arrangements for an alternate location. 

“Next election, people will remember this,” said Sandra Bailey to the politicians in the room. “As long as there’s 10 kids in Williamsburg using this library, keep the damn thing open. Find the money. There’s money for other things, why not this?” 

Someone in the audience explained that although he understands that the library is trying to stay alive, the library in Williamsburg is an important resource that the people there are trying to hold on to. “By removing this resource, children are being deprived.” he said. 

Mary Strader questioned how the consolidation would truly be an enhancement. “The only enhancement I see is a few additional hours of open time: Not more terminals. Not more books. I see it as less.”

“Look around, look at who’s here. Nobody in Morrisburg is even interested to see what’s coming their way. You are going after the non-users at the expense of the users,” concluded Strader.

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