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Why A Visit to Your Local Ontario Library will Get You Thinking

This month, Shelagh Paterson, Executive Director of the Ontario Library Association, addresses the changes many libraries are making across Ontario to better serve and reflect their communities. We encourage all Ontario-based authors and publishers to stay informed on programs and services offered by their local community library in order to both participate and help promote these wonderful programs and services. It will only be beneficial to you to form positive relationships with your local library. 

Ask any person on the street to describe a library and they’ll likely say it’s a place to borrow books.

Ask one of the millions of library users in Ontario, and you may not get the same answer twice. While lending books will always be a much loved and in demand service, libraries are offering a multitude of programs and services in response to the needs of their own communities. After all, libraries have always been about helping people learn, at their own pace, and about their own interests.

A significant trend over the past 5 years has been the rise of ‘maker’ culture in libraries.  This can range from making 3-D printers available to coding classes and digital media labs, to hack-a-thons. It can include ‘low tech’ programming such as bookmaking, and Zine, and Lego clubs.

Learning programs are continually increasing in libraries – more than 4 million Ontarians, just in the past year, visited their public library to take part in at least one of the more than 250,000 programs offered.

Ontario’s libraries offer all sorts of weird and wonderful things for lending – and tailored to their communities. In Thunder Bay kids can borrow fishing tackle, in Grimsby you can ‘borrow’ seeds for your garden, in Kitchener you can check out a ‘WiFi Hot Spot’ to get internet access at home.

Public libraries are a public benefit and a public service. They are open to everyone to visit in person, or online.

If you haven’t visited one lately, what are you waiting for?

DigiWriting is proud to partner with the Ontario Library Association to increase awareness of important issues faced by libraries across Ontario as well as highlighting the various technological and programming changes that are revolutionizing how we think about our local library. Check back every month for a new post written by a representative of a specific Ontario library. 

Follow the Ontario Library Association on Twitter: @ONLibraryAssoc

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What is your favourite new library service at your local library?