Sioux Lookout Public Library welcomes back patrons with Open House
Mike Lawrence - Staff Writer
The Sioux Lookout Public Library (SLPL) welcomed patrons back with an official Open House event on Saturday Feb. 26. The Open House, which took place after a two-week soft opening, was attended by members of the public, as well as members of the SLPL Board of Directors, Municipal Councillors, and Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance.
Reaction to the Open House was overwhelmingly positive, as Emily McIntyre, SLPL CEO and Chief Librarian explained, “It was a really successful day. We were super happy to see the community come out and support the library. We had a great turnout, especially during story time. We had a special guest author, Mike Lawrence, and he did an excellent job of captivating the audience. We had a lot of little readers that were excited to come back and see the library and experience story time. We were just really happy to open our services to the public again and for people to be able to come in and meet the staff. We’ve had some dedicated special hours, one morning a week for seniors and one for family members. Those have been really successful because people have been able to come in and experience the library in a bit of a quieter setting with other people in their demographic. With people coming in from the public, we’ve had a lot of great feedback, commenting that they’re happy to have the library services available again. Just having the library space itself as a place for people to come and access resources. We had support from the mayor and some council members today, and as well some of our board members. We were really happy to see so many leaders from the community come out and support the library.”
Commenting on the steady attendance throughout the day, McIntyre added, “This is definitely the busiest it’s been, and I think it was really successful because we were still able to respect social distancing and safety guidelines by having our masks on and having hand sanitizing stations. Although it was busy, it was really nice to see some life back in the library again, because we missed our patrons.”
Speaking after the event, Mayor Doug Lawrance commented, “On Saturday I was pleased to be able to attend the Library Open House event, a significant sign of overall reopening of public spaces. The library is a very important public space for the entire community. Through its various products, programs, and services, the library provides free access to knowledge and information to everyone in the community. I was struck by the variety of services offered to a wide range of people - children, teenagers, seniors, students, adults, and families. On Saturday I was able to borrow a book which was published quite recently, borrow a current magazine, and buy two older books from the discard shelf. Congratulations to the library staff and board on the reopening of this vibrant community service.”
One of the SLPL’s Board of Directors members who stopped by was Jennifer Hancharuk.
Speaking to the importance of having the library return to being open to the public, Hancharuk noted, “A library is a vital and necessary part of a community. It provides a place for people to meet, to learn new skills, and connect with resources. It opens so many doors! Plus, all those great books to read!”
Another board member, who also happens to be a municipal councillor, is Joyce Timpson, who also expressed the importance of having the library returning to in-person services, stating, “As both a member of Municipal Council and the Library Board, I am delighted to see this critically important service back in operation. The last two years brought pandemic restrictions and staff changes but our staff heroically kept the books circulating. The library is an extremely important service for the Municipality as a centre for free access for all to unlimited information and knowledge. This is critical at a time when understanding of our world is so important. All the best to the new staff in moving us forward.”
Moving forward the library’s hours will be as follows. Sundays and Mondays - Closed. Tuesdays and Wedenesdays - 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.. Thursdays - Seniors and Elders 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., general public 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Fridays, family time from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., then open to the general public from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.