The survival of small community libraries has been in the news quite recently. Many towns across Canada’s most easterly coast will have to say good-bye to theirs. In fact, 54 of Newfoundland and Labrador’s 95 libraries will close within two years. This is such a loss, and I sincerely hope it’s not a trend.
Growing up, my summers would not have been as much fun or enriching without this little library in Hilton, Ontario. Our family spent many summers at the Hilton Beach Campground, without any access to TV (the internet was largely just an idea or business tool back then – yup, that’s how old I am!). So, as kids, we swam, biked, explored the woods and hung out at the government dock. Our quiet times and rainy days were largely spent reading and playing games. My favourite books were Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy mysteries. I’d check out the limit and often return my stack for new copies before the due date. These were the summers of dreams.
Whenever I visit my hometown of Sault Ste. Marie I try to make the drive to St. Joseph’s Island on Lake Huron to revisit my childhood days in Hilton. Some years I’m lucky, and my visit coincides with their annual Community Day – which is quite an event for such a small town. I always pause and admire the library, and delight in the fact that it’s still there.
Big and small, libraries are important in towns and communities. They instil a love of reading. What could be more valuable than that?
Do you have a favourite small library? How has it shaped your life?