A meeting on July 17th will give people a chance to have a hand in the future of the Madawaska Valley Public Library

Frances Mawson, chair of the library’s board, sat down with My Barry’s Bay Now to discuss the meeting happening at the Opeongo’s Seniors Center on Wednesday. She says with the Library’s 5 year strategic plan accomplished, it was time to re-examine the plan and ask community groups what they want the Library to be. Mawson says the current library is not suitable for some of the expansions the community has proposed. She says despite the a number of suggestions, many ideas couldn’t be done due to lack of space or staff, or the space was unsuitable. Mawson says the Board has their own idea of what to do, but would like to confer with the community first.

Mawson says the nature of the library is changing. She says libraries are one of the few places people can still go for free and spend long amounts of time. With that in mind, Mawson says that libraries have become more like community centers, and should not only expand what they do, but what people can borrow from them. For the space, Mawson suggested that the municipality and the library could amalgamate, similar to what they did in Maynooth. An old garage in Barry’s Bay that’s owned by the municipality would then be the go-to location, as problems it once had have since been addressed. But with many levels of government and the library already dealing with cuts, Mawson doesn’t see the municipality funding an expansion.

Mawson says regardless of what the public chooses, the library will continue to do the best they can with the limitations they have. She hopes good ideas will be put forward and that people will come with an open mind. She also says that despite those who say libraries have been replaced by the internet, the library still has good support within the community.