Why get rid of the Mill St. Library?

July 24, 2020   ·   0 Comments

An Open Letter to Mayor Sandy Brown and Deputy Mayor Andy Mcintosh re Mill Street Library.

While a citizen of Mono, I am a constant user of Orangeville’s Mill Street Library and thus, when I read the Citizens front page article today (Friday) on the idea to close Mill Street Libary, I confess that my first thought was “How could they even think to do this”.  And my second thought was connected to my half-Italian genetic heritage which I discovered at the age of fifty years (we are not certain what the other half is, my husband assures me it is Wild Hungarian Gypsy) and practicing the Evil Eye on Sandy Brown and Andy Mcintosh, both of whom I have met once in the past though I’m sure neither would remember.  Sandy and I met years ago, Andy and I more recently just before his election, in the foyer of Playfair Dental Centre.  I liked both men, feeling that they were sound thinkers and square shooters.  I’d like to continue thinking this but as I read further in the article, several things bothered me:

1. The Toronto-based planning company’s comments immediately alerted me to how companies like this are hired to look into the future not always looking to honour the past or how the community functions which they are hired to ‘renovate’.  I confess to being rather rigid in this concept.

2. The report calls for extensive redevelopment of the Alder Recreational Centre, thus repurposing (a new buzz word I’ve learned recently) the Tony Rose Arena and the Mill Street Public Library.  Why bother, they are functioning just fine as they are.

So I decided the problem lay with “The existing facility (Mill St. Libary) is not well positioned to handle extensive renovations needed to bring it up to industry standards”  Now this to me sounds like so much Planning Company claptrap and propaganda.  What the heck is an ‘ industry standard ‘ for libraries.   Mill Street library is a Carnegie Library, a distinction in itself.  It is also Heritage building though it may not be as yet designated as such.    Since I’ve always found the library physically functions well, the stacks are well-spaced, lots of light, the staff are very efficient and considerate, so this can’t be what the Planning Company is referring to in not being up to “industry standards”.  No, I think what they are referring to is lumping everything together under one roof to reduce costs.  Now I could be wrong but any planning company that puts forth the concept that having a library lumped in with swimming pools and ice rinks will  engage more people in reading books really doesn’t wash with me.  If you’re going to read a book, going where there is an ice rink and swimming pool is frankly a distraction.  Book lovers like libraries, alone.  The planning company seems all smoke and mirrors on that one.  It’s all about money and the cost of running a recreational centre so let’s lump as much as we can under one roof, it’s more cost effective, that’s how this is all coming across to me.

By then, I had a full head of steam, I was going to practise the Evil Eye so I could deliver it to Sandy and Andy and the whole of Orangeville’s council, but then I read the last paragraph in which Andy talked about receiving offensive emails about the library closure, so I gather Mill St. Library Lovers have been descending upon Council already and protesting the possibility of ‘repurposing’ Mill Street Libary.  Maybe I’ll just leave the Italian Evil Eye up to them since I’m having to practice how to do it anyway.  Hmmm.  Maybe the horse’s head?  

Wonder if this is put to a citizen’s vote, how might that feel to you Sandy and Andy?  

Sandy Small Proudfoot, 

in Mono, a loyal member of Mill Street Libary.

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