By Dianne Cornish
Residents of Lynden and beyond have put out the welcome mat for their new library, which opened Tuesday afternoon with little fanfare but with a whole lot of excitement, at least on the local scene.
Hamilton Public Library (HPL) administration and branch staff were equally excited and last week invited the Review for an exclusive tour of the 4,000-square-foot facility to show off the new dig’s many features. Apart from the cheerful, multi-colored glass windows in the children’s department that can be seen from every corner of the new building and its 22-foot raised ceiling in the centre of the building, the abundance of natural light streaming from its many windows and its open concept roominess are among its most notable features. The sheer newness of the building also stands in stark contrast to the former Lynden branch, which had operated since 1972 from a section of a large, old house located further south on Lynden Road until it closed its doors Dec. 29, 2012.
Ania Van Minnen, manager of the Flamborough cluster of libraries which includes Waterdown, Millgrove, Carlisle, Freelton and Lynden and Karen Anderson, director of public services at the HPL, were eager to point out the new branch’s improved service features including improved accessibility, such as barrier-free washrooms and automatic door openers, express checkouts, customer parking, increased public access to computers throughout the library, free Wi-Fi Internet access, additional electrical outlets for laptop users and a 24/7 drop box access where patrons can easily “pull up and drop off materials,” said Anderson. There’s also a cozy lounge area with fireplace where visitors can leisurely browse through books, magazines and newspapers.
Other features include a new computer-equipped teen area, dedicated study space for individuals or small groups, and ample space to display library materials.
“Display space was lacking in the other building,” Anderson noted, as she pointed out the many integrated display areas available throughout the new branch.
The children’s department is large enough to be divided into two areas, one for school-aged children and the other for pre-schoolers. A computer is available for the children and the department features an early literacy station for them, Van Minnen noted.
The literacy-based activities offer opportunities for community partnerships, some of which are already taking shape with the local Lions Club. The club’s main focus this year is literacy.
The new branch is “keen on being part of the community,” Anderson said, adding that she was pleased to hear a Lions Club member recently say, “It’s going to be the heart of the community.”
Anderson said that the new $1.6-million branch is “bucking the trend” in the west Flamborough village, which has seen closures of a credit union and a public school in recent years. The community is excited by the prospect of the new building serving as a focal gathering place.
The new branch, at the corner of Lynden Road and Albert Street, will be staffed by three part-time employees and four casual workers and will be open for 35 hours per week as opposed to the former branch that was open 27 hours.
The new service hours are Monday through Wednesday from 1 to 8 p.m., and Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The branch will be closed Fridays and Sundays.
The library is designed to meet the needs of both the Rockton and Lynden communities. The former Rockton branch closed on Dec. 20. On Jan. 3, the HPL began a new weekly Bookmobile service for Rockton, stopping at the old township hall from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Grand opening festivities for the new branch will be held Tues. Jan. 29 at 2 p.m., and a community celebration with puppet shows, music, and face painting will be held Sat. Feb. 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The February festivities will include an outdoor barbecue hosted by the Lynden Lions at 11 a.m.