A New Downtown Public Library for Guelph

Should the city of Guelph invest in a new and updated public library?…If you ask me I would say yes! The public library is a great investment for the city, not only do people get a place to do research and study but they also have a environment thats comfortable and made for them. An updated version of the Guelph public library would be costly but after hearing the benefits of having a library and taking a behind the scenes tour of it I think a new renovation is highly recommended. After hearing what Steve Kraft, the CEO of the library, had to say about the Guelph library and libraries in general it is clear to me that Guelph would benefit from having a place for the entire community to use. Wendy Newman, being a librarian herself stated that the things that work well in a library are not so much the outside or overall look of the library, it’s what is inside that matters. Installing more computers for people to use, making more space for lounging, and organizing more activities for the public. She also stated that “If a library is not a agent of change it’s not worth it”. The GPL needs some changes to convince people that the library should be rebuilt. The library should start to digitalize more by getting more computers or investing in e-readers. This would show that libraries are evolving and becoming more relevant to the 21st century.

The purpose of a library is to provide community culture, a place for books to be read and a place for educating people of all ages. These are some of the things I think should have been outlined in the Guelph Public Library strategic plan, include more of what they will improve and less of how much it will cost. The community of Guelph should have their opinions heard, what changes they want to see in the library, what community services they should provide and how they should make the library more interactive for children. The library is one of the historical monuments in Guelph and I’m sure many people would agree on keeping it that way, but after going on a tour of the library I can see that there are a lot of changes needed to be made. The structure of the library is not big enough for all those books and computers, they appeared to be clustered together in a tight space that looked like if anyone would want to find a specific book it would be difficult. The fire alarm in the lower level is also very outdated, this is a safety concern for citizens. Another concern is the non-accessible elevator which is to narrow to fit wheelchairs making the washrooms located on the third floor non-accessible too.

I believe that the main source for libraries are the books…especially for children. Books provide a great amount of knowledge and they give children imagination. When people think about a library the first thought that comes to their minds are books. What people don’t realize is that yeah; books are a great source of knowledge but the library has so much more to offer for a community. If the community of Guelph can see the benefits of building a new public library I think they would be in awe at all the great things it has to offer.

-Raphaela Simoes

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