Area Library Opening Ceremony Postponed
The official opening of the expansion of the town's main branch of the library at the old town hall on Queen Street has been postponed for one week from June 1 to June 8. The branch has been closed since May 15 while the carpeting was laid and final installations were made. The board was told this week that nuts and bolts for the book shelves have been tied up somewhere between Montreal and Toronto, delaying completion of the $58,000 project. The renovations of the basement of the town hall for the expansion included breaking through two walls, pouring cement flooring, a new electrical system, plus revamping a garage.
The opening ceremonies will be conducted by Lincoln MPP Bob Welch, Lincoln MP Ken Higson, and Mayor Jacob Froese. The public open house will be held June 9.
St. Catharines Standard. June 1, 1973
Best spent federal finance
Completion of the refurbished and expanded Historical Society's Museum and the Niagara-on-the-Lake Library headquarters marks the end of two projects which federal financing helped to make a reality.
It is no exaggeration to state that seldom, since the introduction of the Local Initiative Program, have there been two more deserving projects. It would, indeed, be extremely difficult to find instances in which the taxpayers' money has been spent to greater benefit to a wider sector of the society.
Let's deal first of all with the museum, which was the original LIP project, on which the Historical Society embarked in 1971.
Here is one of the original museums in Ontario, fossilizing its life away for want of a few dollars. Then Paul Johns comes along, breathes new life into what was almost a cadaver and the would-be corpse begins to stir. President Ann Stokes and her executive saw some hope of reviving the dying museum, followed up with an application to Ottawa and rigor mortis was arrested. But one injection of federal financing was not enough to bring new life into the museum. So further efforts were exerted, the town fathers were persuaded that financial assistance was needed and once again resort was made to the LIP grants.
Commercial and industrial sectors of Ontario were tapped and appeals made to private sources for help. No effort was spared to make the Niagara-on-the-Lake museum worthy of people such as Janet Carnochan who laboured most mightily in the early days to found and administer a museum here.
Various committees were appointed and if there was any doubt in the minds of anyone that committee chairmen and their co-workers were following in the footsteps of Miss Carnochan, last Monday's ceremony would have removed them.
It was an event which the large cross section of Niagara who attended will remember for a long time. Even the elements were in favour of the ceremonial opening. Following a severe thunder storm, the clouds cleared and bright sunshine poured out on those friends of the museum who were able to attend at that time of the afternoon.
It was indeed a community effort, as Mrs. Stokes stressed but equally important is that federal money was never better spent.
The same applies to the expanded Library which was opened last Friday, a few days following the opening of the Museum.
Ben Bramble and his Library Board, ably supported by Librarian Gerda Molson have done a magnificent job. They have had many heartaches since the project was launched and at times it seemed as if Town Council were not inclined to give the moral and financial support such a community project demanded. However, Council did provide some assistance which, with Ben's and his executive's initiative in raising the bank loan coupled with the LIP grant, have resulted in a community service of which any town the size of Niagara-on-the-Lake could be most proud.
Our Library is no longer a hodge-podge collection of books stored in a large boxlike structure but a well furnished, well organized and arranged institution where adults (and most -important) children may spend many happy and informative hours improving their minds
One of our distinctive advantages is the splendid art collection on display, available through artists living in Niagara-on-the-Lake or represented by art galleries we are fortunate to have here.
Crowning these vastly improved physical facilities is the priceless presence of a dedicated librarian and a very efficient staff whose members obviously love what they are doing, and you've one of the finest community agencies anywhere in the world.
The Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum and the new expanded Niagara-on-the-Lake Library headquarters are two more undeniable reasons why we can claim the quality of life in this town is second to none.
We know how proud both the Historical Society's executive and the Library Board are of their achievements and we commend them for their absolutely splendid efforts and success. On their behalf we extend a very hearty invitation, not only to our residents but to visitors, to make use of the facilities offered by these two organizations. Again we repeat, seldom has federal money been spent to greater benefit for the people, than in the case of the LIP and municipal grants, on the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum and Library.
Niagara Advance. June 14, 1973.
Children's section of library closed
The Niagara on-the-Lake Library opened its doors to the public on June 8 and was ordered to close the children's section a week later.
Building inspector Mr. John Bateson could not issue
an Occupancy Permit because the children's section, located between two furnace rooms does not comply with safety regulations and is considered to be dangerous to the public.
The problem stems from the lack of adequate fire protection of the furnace rooms in that each room must have a fire rated ceiling installed as well as fire doors. The stairs leading up to the main floor of the Town Hall, which will serve as an additional fire exit, must also be fire proofed and both emergency fire exits leading from the children's section of the library must be equipped with panic bars and exit lights.
Installation of the fire proof ceilings within the
furnace rooms is complicated because some piping must be moved to meet regulations.
In explaining the situation to the Advance, Lord Mayor Froese emphasized the fact that the building inspector would be held responsible in case of an accidental fire and also pointed out that it is probably that the municipality's insurance would not cover the existing conditions. Mayor Froese added that there is a possibility of a gas leak going undetected.
Chairman of the Library Board, Ben Bramble, feels that closing of the children's section is unjustified inasmuch as the furnaces are not in use this time of year. 'The entire board and staff have worked so hard to expedite the expansion to make the library available to the public again and we feel we could have reached a much more reasonable agreement with some sort of time limit set for that particular job."
Meantime, the library staff is making every effort
to meet the needs of the town's youngsters by
making some of the children's books available in
the main section of the library.
Niagara Advance. June 21, 1973.
Libraries go Regional
The Niagara on the Lake Library Board held its June meeting on Wednesday, June 13. The Board members discussed a variety of subjects, the most pressing of which were the introduction of the new Regional Library Lending System, the extension of library hours in Virgil and the holding of a children's workshop in October.
The Regional Library Lending System, which will come into operation July 1, will allow members of any Regional Library to borrow books from all area libraries. A borrower will not have to return books to the library from which they were borrowed. Instead, he will be allowed to return them to the nearest library. There will be no additional cost involved in borrowing books from other libraries. All area library cards will be changed to accommodate members who wish to take advantage of the new system.
As a result of a petition signed by 97 members of the Virgil Library, the library will expand its operations by 4 1/2 hours a week in September.
On October 17, a large "Children’s Workshop" will be held in the Niagara on the Lake Library. The subject under study will be "Controversial and Contemporary Children's Literature". School Librarians and parents will participate in a series of seminars and lectures.
Niagara Advance. June 21, 1973.
Guard house has new role
Dr. Seuss has a new home in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
It is down a couple of steps where only a year ago picks, shovels and other tools lay on a dirt floor in the town's historic municipal building. Now it is filled with Dr. Seuss and hundreds of other children's books.
The rows of books flank tables barely two feet high, sitting on warm gold carpet — just the sort of place where little bookworms can curl up and listen to stories or read their favorite books.
The amazing transformation of the town hall basement into-a favorite haunt of many Niagara youngsters was part of a $58,000 renovation and expansion of the town library. The money came from a $30,000 L.I.P. grant and other sources and, in seven months, the musty work room of the tight and water department became a great place for the townspeople.
THE DECOR of the new quarters is in line with the traditional upper Canadian motif that is a hallmark of the village. The warm alcoves, created with natural brick and stone and huge pillars, have become a favorite place of the readers.
The old guard room of the town jail has been sand blasted, lit with fluorescent tubes and transformed into a story corner for about 35 children every Saturday. The huge iron door leading into the old cells provides a perfect backdrop for ghost stories.
The main room of the library has been repainted and refitted with hand-crafted reading desks and brightened with gold chandeliers and huge pillars.
The book collection is displayed in spacious shelves where a few hours browsing is a joy.
"BEFORE it was so cramped, the juvenile section was jammed into a corner of the adult one and you almost had to crawl into it," said Linda Potter of the library staff.
She added that circulation of books since the project was completed has jumped to 43,000 volumes among 1,700 members, a marked increase over other years.
Another staff member, Ann Slak, said renovations have made a huge difference in working conditions.
"We used to store things in this room (the juvenile section) and it was almost scary to even come down here," she said.
As well as holding the juvenile section, the renovated part of the basement houses the library's record collection. The gentle sounds drifting from the speakers helps make one forget the old stereotype of a dingy, dull room full of books where somebody's grandmother kept telling you to be quiet.
THE NEW areas are for people, not just books, and the colorful paintings and drawings on display in the foyer remind one of that fact.
But the pleasant surroundings now weren't so easy to wait for, Ann said.
"While work was going on it was really a madhouse. We had to pack everything and then getting ready to open in June was hard," she said.
"We were unpacking and working until six o'clock and the office reception started at seven. We never thought we would make it," added Linda.
But they did and even though the work wasn't completed until August and the unpacking still isn't done, the girls said the opening was a success and people have been coming to the library in ever increasing numbers.
The renovations have changed more than the physical appearance of the building and the library has become a people place. They come and enjoy themselves, especially the 35 or so children who visit every Saturday morning to hear why the Cat in the Hat came back or what Bartholomew and the Oobleck are all about.
It seems to be on L.I.P. project about which no one is complaining.
by Darryl Gibson. Hamilton Spectator. Jan 21, 1974.
Thank you, Ben Bramble
Ben Bramble retired recently as Chairman of the Niagara on the Lake Library Board. He did this so unobtrusively that it gave the lie to those who unjustly accused him of "building a monument to himself". Whatever they meant by that, we are of the opinion, there are few worthier monuments man may build to himself than a library. Many things have been said of the recently retired Library Board Chairman but it can never be denied he was largely responsible for the magnificent facility this town now boasts in its public library. He didn't make a lot of friends during his drive for the expansion and improvement which now enables large numbers of children to enjoy themselves immensely, as may be seen any Saturday morning. But within a few months he succeeded in getting done a job which was under contemplation for several years.
We are not claiming Ben Bramble built the library. What we definitely state is he is to be thanked by the whole community comprising the Municipality for the expansion and improvement to what it now is, library of which any town this size or larger may be proud.
He has left a truly substantial foundation on which the new Chairman can build further. Thanks Ben.
Niagara Advance. Feb 14, 1974