By James Matthews (Local Initiative Journalism reporter)
It’s been a time of change at the Haliburton County Public Library.
That’s the sense conveyed to Haliburton County council during its meeting on Sept. 28 by Chris Stephenson, the library’s CEO, and Sally Howson, chairperson of the library’s board.
In keeping with county-wide initiatives, the library has embarked on staff restructuring, modernization of the organization, a new logo and branding initiative, and the launch of a new website with an integrated online catalogue.
“We start with the word modernization,” Stephenson said. “We’re digging into all areas of the library system. We’re responding to feedback to make improvements for our patrons and visitors.
The Dorset Depot Library Lockers have proven popular among library patrons.
The lockers are located in a sheltered spot outside of Robinson’s General Store in Dorset and they are accessible 24-hours.
“People are tracking our success because it’s a model that may work well in small and medium sized communities elsewhere,” he said.
The summer reading club was successful after being on hiatus for the last two years because of the pandemic. More than 160 kids took part in the summer reading programming.
“The highlight of summer was the Haliburton and District Lions Club Stories in the Park Fun Fair which attracted a stunning 500 families and their kids,” Stephenson said.
The library is mindful of technology and accessibility and how services can be improved at each branch. A new phone tree system to direct incoming calls has been implemented.
“The volume of calls has gone up as our population has increased,” he said.
And two new part-time couriers have been hired to keep the flow of books and materials flowing between the county library’s branches.
Howson said the library is a vital hub for the community. A new slate of directors will be chosen in December to fill out the board. There’s four spots for members of the public and she hopes people will avail of the opportunity to contribute to the county in that way.
“There’s lots of great changes that have happened within the community within the last two years,” Howson said. “Hopefully, there’ll be lots of applications for the new board,” she said.
Funding sought for flood mapping
Stephen Stone, Haliburton County’s director of planning, said conservation authorities are wrapping up summer surveying projects and he hopes a report detailing the project’s progress can be presented to council later in the fall.
On Sept. 16, staff submitted an application for funding through the Flood Hazard Identification and Mapping Program (FHIMP) administered by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
Funding is being sought to cover half the costs of the modelling and surveying work plan efforts of the two conservation authorities for next year and the first quarter in 2024.
The estimated cost for the final phase of the multi-year floodplain mapping project is $450,000. The estimated FHIMP portion of the cost will be $225,000 if approved.