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Cornwall Public Library is connected to economic development

Jason Setnyk
OurHometown.ca

Cornwall Public Library is connected to economic development
Rows and rows of shelves are filled with amazing books, there are computer internet stations, audio visual stations, study facilities, newspapers and magazines, DVDs and Cds, a book store, a youth section upstairs, there are also microfilm readers, and the Cornwall Room too. These are just some of the many things you will find at the Cornwall Public Library.

Cornwall - January 21, 2012 - Rows and rows of shelves are filled with amazing books, there are computer internet stations, audio visual stations, study facilities, newspapers and magazines, DVDs and Cds, a book store, a youth section upstairs, there are also microfilm readers, and the Cornwall Room too.

These are just some of the many things you will find at the Cornwall Public Library.

The library is located at what use to be the old Post Office on 45 Second Street East. The large grey two story building is a gem in the heart of our City, and it draws about five hundred people downtown each and every single day.

I interviewed Dawn Kiddell who is the CEO and Chief Librarian of the Cornwall Public Library. She has worked there for over fifteen years, and her responsibilities include organizing, directing and controlling all of the Library's operations, and managing the overall budget.

Kiddell graduated McGill University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications, and with a Master of Library and Information Studies. She also has a degree in Journalism from Concordia University. Kiddell is married and she has two children. In my interview with Kiddell we learn what kind of impact the library has on our community - from economic development, to arts and culture, and education.

Jason Setnyk: How does our Library help with Economic Development?

Dawn Kiddell: The library is an attraction for people looking to relocate. We get a lot of comments from people moving to Cornwall. We also attract 500 people a day to the downtown. We have membership from people in the Counties, and they may do their shopping after visiting the Library. We are a downtown destination! Library's directly contribute to the economic well being of a community. We are an employer, we employ people in the community, including students.

Jason Setnyk: How does our Library promote and/or support Arts and Culture?

Dawn Kiddell: We have a lot of partnerships and co-sponsored programs, for example Art displays, writer's workshops, contests, seminars, live music, and arts and crafts are included as a part of our children's programming. We were also the venue for the Eradication of Poverty event in Cornwall. We act as a cultural venue for as many agencies as we can accommodate.

Jason Setnyk: Does the Cornwall Public Library support the Culture Plan?

Dawn Kiddell: As the City's largest cultural institution the Library fully supports the City's pursuing a Culture plan and is ready to help in anyway.

Jason Setnyk: How does our Library help with literacy and education, and what age groups benefit from the Library?

Dawn Kiddell: There are literary challenges in the community. We provide free programs and resources for life long learning, from Age-O-Baby Tales to Senior's programs such as philosophy courses. We have school visits, they pick up books or do class assignments here. Literary tutors from Tri County Literacy meet students here at the library. We also have a special literary collection for new adult readers.

Jason Setnyk: What might people not know about libraries?

Dawn Kiddell: We are more than books. We have many different formats. We have access to ebooks. (Kiddell is holding an E-book reader in the photo). Any type of ebook except for the Kindle which only reads books from Amazon. People can download books here or at home as long as they have membership here. We've had ebook access for about a year now.

Jason Setnyk: How are libraries of the 21st Century changing?

Dawn Kiddell: Information is information. It comes in different formats. Our mission is to provide equitable access of information to everyone. It creates a level playing field for everyone, especially in a community that has economic challenges, you want a level playing field for everyone. Libraries promote education, literacy, and life long learning. We have free wireless information databases, and computer stations. Since Blockbuster has closed we are one of the only places to rent DVD's, and there is no charge to borrow them here. We have a licence and have feature films. Movie days and movie nights are very popular too.

Jason Setnyk: Tell me about 'Library Week in Ontario'?

Dawn Kiddell: Library week started in 1985 by the Ministry of Culture in the Province of Ontario to promote Public Library service in Ontario. A strong library system is the cornerstone of a strong community. In celebration we have 24 activities occurring during Library Week including a book release, Friends of the Library book sale, the continuation of the Focus Art Juried Art Show, and various clubs that meet here as well. We also have a writer's group meeting, bridge, chess, yoga, and activities pretty much every single day. There has been a French Book Group that has been meeting here for over ten years. Many of these type of activities occur year round not just during Library Week.

Jason Setnyk: Lets talking a bit about funding. Is provincial funding enough? Also this came up at City Council: Why was it so important to get the roof of the Library fixed?

Dawn Kiddell: The provincial funding model hasn't been changed since it was adjusted in 1997. It represents 5% of our budget. The rest of budget comes from the municipality, and from fundraisers which raise 6% of our budget. About the roof, it is a repair of the old section of the roof that was not done when the building was renovated in 1996. We don't want water coming in and causing more damage and disrupting services. It's necessary to fix it.

Jason Setnyk: Thank you Dawn Kiddell for your time. This has been a very enlightening and educating interview.


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