After our class had the great opportunity to have two people that are up to date and involved in the library services we discovered how libraries are still an ideal space in a community and may not be changing that quickly after all. We were lucky enough to have Steve Kraft the CEO of Guelph public library come and present his power point, which allowed him to express his vision on a new main branch library. After his presentation it was very clear what the plan was for the city of Guelph to go forward and proceed in a decision regarding a brand new library for the community. After we had Wendy Newman come to speak about how libraries are in the 21st century and the certain services they provide to a large community like Guelph, it was clear that libraries are a significant place within a community.
In both Steve`s and Wendy`s presentations it was brought to attention that the one ideal way to figure out if Guelph needs a new library is to get feedback from the residents that use the library frequently and the general public. From doing so many opinions and observations would arise and make the decision easier. Obviously cost is the big problem interfering with building a new branch but conducting surveys with several different questions can lead to many solutions that could be cost effective. For example, a renovation of the current library to meet needs and standards would cost less than an entire new building. Steve Kraft stated that the majority of users of the library still like traditional textbooks rather than reading digitally through an e-book. Because in today`s time we are surrounded and virtually addicted to technology, computers, and smartphones that getting away from what were always doing is present through reading a traditional book. This means that libraries in fact are not changing that rapidly and the idea of a new library is not that bizarre. Both Wendy and Steve mentioned that the library is seen as a free community space that is part of growing up, essential to one`s learning, and is an institution in society that shapes people`s lives. Libraries are a place of safety and give the feeling of well-being to the people who use this public space.
The fact that libraries are a very popular community incentive is why Guelph should indeed make and finalize the decision to build a new one for the city of Guelph. The current library is in my eyes a disaster. Not having proper employee offices, and workplaces, non-accessible washrooms, health and safety hazards, and limited space and services are solely the main reasons why Guelph is in desperate need for a new library. Libraries provide services that actually shape an individuals life. Being a poor reader leads to lack of basic knowledge and from a young age can have a child/student feeling that he or she is a failure. From this it leads to negative behaviour and increases the chance of being a drop out, criminal, and never making it to post secondary. Libraries provide services and programs for children learning to read which can leave them up to date in their level of reading. In fact, libraries are useful places for all ages. 20% of people are not connected and rely on libraries for Internet use, and other services provided by a computer. A library can help someone go from un-employed to employed by enabling the use of Internet and computers. After both presentations from Steve and Wendy, the library is still a very useful place within a community and is in fact not changing as quickly as people may think. After hearing their presentations and their view and knowledge on libraries it was clear that in fact Guelph does need a new downtown Library and the city would benefit greatly.