What a year it’s been! 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic – but the library rose to the challenge. With the CEO away on parental leave until September, the Interim CEO and staff continued to provide the connections and services that the community needed. After the initial pandemic shutdown in March, the library has cycled through offering curbside pickup, to computer access, to opening for browsing, and back to curbside again. The Library Board is deeply grateful for the hard work and dedication of our staff in managing these changing services.
The library continues to provide an important lifeline to a lot of people, and library staff focused on ways to engage our community virtually through social media, virtual StoryTime videos and take-home activity kits that could be picked up using the library’s curbside service. They also made care calls to patrons who couldn’t access our services online.
Just a little story … I received a phone call from a patron who needed help. They live alone and do not possess any computer skills. Over the phone, I was able to assist them in choosing a selection of new books and place an order for pickup. From there we continued to have a lively conversation that allowed for laughter for both of us. They let me know that I was the only person to speak with them that day. I strongly feel that the connection we are making by providing safe curbside service for our community is invaluable.
Your continued cheerfulness, your smiles and your unbelievable help during this difficult time has been priceless!
COVID19 had a significant impact on use of the library building, with visits and computer use at less than 40% of a typical year at the library. However, thanks to the opening of our small Friends study room and community members looking to meet in a safe environment, meeting room bookings have more than tripled. Limited in-person programs resumed in September and ran until December. While the Summer Literacy Program was cancelled, an expanded OWLS Tutoring program started in October and provided tutoring for 27 children.
“We are so grateful for your assistance during this time. I’ve noticed such an improvement in –‘s literacy. Having constant variety for him has really encouraged him to read more!”
All online services remained open 24/7, including eBooks, eAudiobooks, film streaming, magazines and research databases. Library staff continued to answer questions via email and to manage digital collections. eBooks and eAudiobooks have been one of the library’s fastest growing areas of use over the past five years. While the pandemic has spurred this on, with a jump in new users and eBook circulation, the use of this collection has been steadily growing by 20% or so each year.
In 2021, the library will be re-developing our strategic plan to incorporate the agility that we have learned over the past year. As the Chair of the Library Board, I am pleased to be a part of a great team: Board members, staff, and our volunteers. We look forward to the coming year!
Chair of the Library Board
The library is an essential community facility because:
- the library is a vibrant community hub that draws people together and inspires community connections.
- it is a place for all ages: seniors whose only personal contact in a day might be the library staff; parents and children visiting, reading, and picking out books together; teens hanging out after school.
- if you’re on a limited income, there is a significant value in access to technology and books. The library bridges the digital divide by providing Internet access, lending laptops, hotspots, and more, and helps people learn how to use technology through tutoring programs.
In 2020, our community members visited the library over 46,000 times to use computers, meeting rooms, and borrow over 100,000 books, eBooks, and more.
Where the money comes from:
Provincial Operating Grant: $42,817
Other grants: $23,463
General Revenue: $16,423
Where the money goes:
Staff, Benefits, Training: $430,107
Special Programs & Activities: $19,196
Building & Insurance: $132,857
Fire Hall Lease & Operations: $2,696
Equipment & Shelving: $1,078
Transfer to Library’s Endowment Funds at Perth & District Community Foundation: $43,787
… to our funding municipalities: Perth, Drummond/North Elmsley, Tay Valley
… to our board members and more than 40 volunteers
… to our community partners and local businesses
… to our fundraising partners: Friends of the Library, Film Night International, and all of our supportive community members
and most of all to you, our library users!
Library Board (2019-2022)
Carol Rigby, TVT – Board Chair
John Fenik, ToP – Mayor
Sheldon Giff, ToP
Deborah Hamilton-Foley, ToP
John Matheson, DNE – Councillor
Susan Murray, DNE
Dawn Palmer, TVT
Ted Parkinson, DNE – Policy Committee Chair
Rob Rainer, TVT – Councillor/Property Committee Chair
Lynn Marsh – Secretary/Treasurer
The Library Board extends thanks to all Board members who served in 2020:
Leona Cameron, ToP – Councillor (served 2020)
A.Duchesne, ToP (served 2020)
Cathy James, ToP (served 2019-2021)
Interim CEO: Julie Hansen
Children’s Library Specialist: Ketsia Snider
Library Technicians: Rae Ann Prosser-Cochrane, Laurie Murray, Heidi Taber
Library Assistants: Jennifer Bain, Kendra Miller, Hannah Schmidt
Pages: Leighla Foster, Sadi Gibson, Rachel Warren
Caretaker: Mario Caya
CEO: Erika Heesen
Coordinator – Customer Service: Julie Hansen
Children’s Library Specialist: Heidi Taber
Library Assistants: Laurie Murray, Jennifer Bain, Kendra Miller
Pages: Delaney Campbell, Leighla Foster
Caretaker: Paul Kirkham