The Annual Report for the Merrickville Public Library was presented to Council this week, and it marked the 10th anniversary of the move to the current location at the old Canoe Club building donated by the Lions Club in 2008.
Library use continues to be a valued and regular part of the daily lives of residents, with 16,285 visits in 2018, and 30,987 items checked out by those visitors. 2018 marked the end of the library’s 5-year strategic plan, and the Board were happy to report that the goals set in that plan had been met. These were to “provide Convenient and Skilled Client Service; to be valued as a Community Service and Gathering Place; and to be an Attractive and Welcoming Public Space”. The 44 Adult and 134 Youth Programs provided by the Library are just one indication of how well those goals have been met. The number of library visits is up by 13% over five years ago, averaging 1,357 visits per month. That works out at an average of 10.5 visits per hour.
Membership of the library totals 1,300 individuals, 630 households.
Adult visitors can enjoy live music, art and tech workshops, Book Clubs, and even Friday afternoon movies. For younger people, the choice of programs is quite amazing, given the resources of the library staff and volunteers, who, along with the Friends of the Library group and the support of the two Councils in Merrickville-Wolford and Montague, make it all possible.
There is also a very active outreach to the community outside the library walls. Mary Kate Laphen, CEO of the Library, reported visits to the local Public Schools, Seniors homes and play groups and nursery schools, a total of 42 community groups and 27 school classes. Partnerships with local groups are another way to engage with the community, and the library has been working with the Merrickville Arts Guild, the Merrickville and District Historical Society, and others to put on exhibits, house collections, and improve the look and beauty of the gardens and grounds.
The Friends of the Library play an important role in the life of the library, raising almost $3,000 through garage sales, plant sales and used book sales in 2018. These funds were used to add to the library’s equipment, eBook collection, and conference fees, for example.
The Merrickville Public Library is providing an extensive and valuable service in an efficient and cost-conscious way. Revenues from provincial and municipal grants (from both Merrickville-Wolford and Montague), as well as donations and in-library sources, allowed staff to add to the book and eBook collections, buy new computer equipment, and pay salaries. In 2018, there was even a small surplus to report of $3,806. Revenues were $120,533 and expenses amounted to $116,727. Much of the effectiveness and efficiency shown by the library is possible through the energy and time provided by a team of dedicated volunteers who help make everything run, and run smoothly.
There may be concerns at the news that the Inter-Library Loan Program may be cancelled by the Ontario Government, which may limit future opportunities.
The Merrickville Public Library Board for 2019 is: Brian Reid, Board Chair; John Harris, Carole Roberts, Victor Suthren, Timothy Malloy (Council representative), and Wendy Simpson-Lewis (Montague representative). Staff are Mary Kate Laphen, CEO, and Linda Purvis-Carriveau.