Residents turn the page on library plan

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The prospect of losing their community library - no matter how remote - doesn't sit well with residents of Greensville.

Although continually reminded by Hamilton library board vice-chair Maureen McKeating that the closure of the Greensville Library was just "a proposal" and "not a done deal," residents jumped to the defence of their library this week. Speaking at a community meeting arranged by Wentworth councilor Dave Braden and held Monday night at the former West Flamborough Township Hall in Greensville, resident Susan Vander Ploeg said the Greensville branch cannot be matched for its level of personal service.

"This is our community; this is our soul," she told McKeating and other Hamilton library officials, including chief librarian Ken Roberts.

In her introductory remarks to about 40 residents in attendance, McKeating explained that the board is considering expansion of the Dundas Library to offer more programs, space and hours. The plan, which would also include opening the Dundas branch on Sundays, would be "predicated on the closure of the Greensville branch," she said, again stressing that the board hasn't made a decision on the plan but is seeking community input.

It was suggested that the Dundas branch, just 4.4 kilometres from the Flamborough hamlet, could serve Greensville residents if the rural branch were closed. Residents quickly questioned the logic of that idea saying that local youths and seniors walk to the Greensville Library and, as there is no transit service in Flamborough, they would have no way of getting to the Dundas location.

Letting her children walk down the Greensville hill to the Dundas branch would be out of the question, one Greensville mother said.

Margaret Bader, who credits easy access to the Greensville Library as the catalyst for making her young son "a good reader," argued the rural branch should be kept open because a good number of people walk to it and wouldn't do so if it was 4.4 kilometres away.

McKeating noted that a survey conducted at all Hamilton libraries in May showed that 75 to 80 per cent of rural users travel to the library by car. In Greensville, the survey indicated that 85 per cent of library patrons drive to the branch.

"What can we do to keep our library?" Bader asked McKeating. The vice-chair said local citizens could make a group presentation to the library board, which meets monthly at the Central branch in downtown Hamilton. But all of the concerns expressed at the community meeting will be relayed to the board at its December meeting, she assured the crowd.

When residents were told that eight break-ins at Flamborough libraries over the past year have proven costly and shown that a significant security risk exists at rural libraries, Vander Ploeg quipped, "So Hamilton has put our taxes way up and now they want to take away our (library) service." Later in the meeting, when it was pointed out that the Greensville library is well used by area residents, Vander Ploeg interjected, "Then, why close it?"

After the meeting, Roberts noted that since amalgamation in 2001, rural library usage has increased on average by 25 to 30 per cent. But, he explained, the costs of operating rural libraries are much higher than those in densely populated areas of the city. For example, the per capita cost to run the Dundas branch is $26 compared to $54 for Greensville and $68 for Lynden. When the board leases a facility for a small rural population, the costs are much higher than at city-based branches, he said.

Roberts stressed that the intent of Monday's meeting was for "genuine consultation." The board heard "the strong reaction" of Greensville residents, he said, adding that work is now under way on a facilities master plan, which will look at the physical condition of libraries across the Hamilton system and where new branches could be built.

Some libraries in Flamborough are not in good physical shape, Roberts said, and a request has been made to the city to provide funding for renovation of the older branches. In some cases, however, a relocation is anticipated. Such is the case with the Lynden library, which at 900 square feet, is too small, Roberts said. Also, the building isn't wheelchair accessible.

Library officials and members of the Lynden community, including the Lions Club, are meeting this week to discuss an alternate and more accessible location for the library.

Residents turn the page on library plan

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The prospect of losing their community library - no matter how remote - doesn't sit well with residents of Greensville.

Although continually reminded by Hamilton library board vice-chair Maureen McKeating that the closure of the Greensville Library was just "a proposal" and "not a done deal," residents jumped to the defence of their library this week. Speaking at a community meeting arranged by Wentworth councilor Dave Braden and held Monday night at the former West Flamborough Township Hall in Greensville, resident Susan Vander Ploeg said the Greensville branch cannot be matched for its level of personal service.

"This is our community; this is our soul," she told McKeating and other Hamilton library officials, including chief librarian Ken Roberts.

In her introductory remarks to about 40 residents in attendance, McKeating explained that the board is considering expansion of the Dundas Library to offer more programs, space and hours. The plan, which would also include opening the Dundas branch on Sundays, would be "predicated on the closure of the Greensville branch," she said, again stressing that the board hasn't made a decision on the plan but is seeking community input.

It was suggested that the Dundas branch, just 4.4 kilometres from the Flamborough hamlet, could serve Greensville residents if the rural branch were closed. Residents quickly questioned the logic of that idea saying that local youths and seniors walk to the Greensville Library and, as there is no transit service in Flamborough, they would have no way of getting to the Dundas location.

Letting her children walk down the Greensville hill to the Dundas branch would be out of the question, one Greensville mother said.

Margaret Bader, who credits easy access to the Greensville Library as the catalyst for making her young son "a good reader," argued the rural branch should be kept open because a good number of people walk to it and wouldn't do so if it was 4.4 kilometres away.

McKeating noted that a survey conducted at all Hamilton libraries in May showed that 75 to 80 per cent of rural users travel to the library by car. In Greensville, the survey indicated that 85 per cent of library patrons drive to the branch.

"What can we do to keep our library?" Bader asked McKeating. The vice-chair said local citizens could make a group presentation to the library board, which meets monthly at the Central branch in downtown Hamilton. But all of the concerns expressed at the community meeting will be relayed to the board at its December meeting, she assured the crowd.

When residents were told that eight break-ins at Flamborough libraries over the past year have proven costly and shown that a significant security risk exists at rural libraries, Vander Ploeg quipped, "So Hamilton has put our taxes way up and now they want to take away our (library) service." Later in the meeting, when it was pointed out that the Greensville library is well used by area residents, Vander Ploeg interjected, "Then, why close it?"

After the meeting, Roberts noted that since amalgamation in 2001, rural library usage has increased on average by 25 to 30 per cent. But, he explained, the costs of operating rural libraries are much higher than those in densely populated areas of the city. For example, the per capita cost to run the Dundas branch is $26 compared to $54 for Greensville and $68 for Lynden. When the board leases a facility for a small rural population, the costs are much higher than at city-based branches, he said.

Roberts stressed that the intent of Monday's meeting was for "genuine consultation." The board heard "the strong reaction" of Greensville residents, he said, adding that work is now under way on a facilities master plan, which will look at the physical condition of libraries across the Hamilton system and where new branches could be built.

Some libraries in Flamborough are not in good physical shape, Roberts said, and a request has been made to the city to provide funding for renovation of the older branches. In some cases, however, a relocation is anticipated. Such is the case with the Lynden library, which at 900 square feet, is too small, Roberts said. Also, the building isn't wheelchair accessible.

Library officials and members of the Lynden community, including the Lions Club, are meeting this week to discuss an alternate and more accessible location for the library.

Residents turn the page on library plan

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The prospect of losing their community library - no matter how remote - doesn't sit well with residents of Greensville.

Although continually reminded by Hamilton library board vice-chair Maureen McKeating that the closure of the Greensville Library was just "a proposal" and "not a done deal," residents jumped to the defence of their library this week. Speaking at a community meeting arranged by Wentworth councilor Dave Braden and held Monday night at the former West Flamborough Township Hall in Greensville, resident Susan Vander Ploeg said the Greensville branch cannot be matched for its level of personal service.

"This is our community; this is our soul," she told McKeating and other Hamilton library officials, including chief librarian Ken Roberts.

In her introductory remarks to about 40 residents in attendance, McKeating explained that the board is considering expansion of the Dundas Library to offer more programs, space and hours. The plan, which would also include opening the Dundas branch on Sundays, would be "predicated on the closure of the Greensville branch," she said, again stressing that the board hasn't made a decision on the plan but is seeking community input.

It was suggested that the Dundas branch, just 4.4 kilometres from the Flamborough hamlet, could serve Greensville residents if the rural branch were closed. Residents quickly questioned the logic of that idea saying that local youths and seniors walk to the Greensville Library and, as there is no transit service in Flamborough, they would have no way of getting to the Dundas location.

Letting her children walk down the Greensville hill to the Dundas branch would be out of the question, one Greensville mother said.

Margaret Bader, who credits easy access to the Greensville Library as the catalyst for making her young son "a good reader," argued the rural branch should be kept open because a good number of people walk to it and wouldn't do so if it was 4.4 kilometres away.

McKeating noted that a survey conducted at all Hamilton libraries in May showed that 75 to 80 per cent of rural users travel to the library by car. In Greensville, the survey indicated that 85 per cent of library patrons drive to the branch.

"What can we do to keep our library?" Bader asked McKeating. The vice-chair said local citizens could make a group presentation to the library board, which meets monthly at the Central branch in downtown Hamilton. But all of the concerns expressed at the community meeting will be relayed to the board at its December meeting, she assured the crowd.

When residents were told that eight break-ins at Flamborough libraries over the past year have proven costly and shown that a significant security risk exists at rural libraries, Vander Ploeg quipped, "So Hamilton has put our taxes way up and now they want to take away our (library) service." Later in the meeting, when it was pointed out that the Greensville library is well used by area residents, Vander Ploeg interjected, "Then, why close it?"

After the meeting, Roberts noted that since amalgamation in 2001, rural library usage has increased on average by 25 to 30 per cent. But, he explained, the costs of operating rural libraries are much higher than those in densely populated areas of the city. For example, the per capita cost to run the Dundas branch is $26 compared to $54 for Greensville and $68 for Lynden. When the board leases a facility for a small rural population, the costs are much higher than at city-based branches, he said.

Roberts stressed that the intent of Monday's meeting was for "genuine consultation." The board heard "the strong reaction" of Greensville residents, he said, adding that work is now under way on a facilities master plan, which will look at the physical condition of libraries across the Hamilton system and where new branches could be built.

Some libraries in Flamborough are not in good physical shape, Roberts said, and a request has been made to the city to provide funding for renovation of the older branches. In some cases, however, a relocation is anticipated. Such is the case with the Lynden library, which at 900 square feet, is too small, Roberts said. Also, the building isn't wheelchair accessible.

Library officials and members of the Lynden community, including the Lions Club, are meeting this week to discuss an alternate and more accessible location for the library.