BY MIKE WILSON
SPECIAL TO THE BANNER
LISTOWEL – The North Perth Public Library has received a $46,900 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Last Saturday a ceremony was held at the Listowel branch of the North Perth Library to commemorate the occasion.
“The library is the hub of our community,” said North Perth Mayor Julie Behrns. “This grant allows the library to better serve their customers and saves the local taxpayer money.”
The North Perth Library is using the grant towards connecting the library with the rest of Perth County in an innovative partnership known as the Perth County Information Network (PCIN). The implementation of PCIN was completed during this past May long weekend.
“Our staff made this a smooth, easy transition,” said North Perth councillor Paul Horn, who is also the chairman of the North Perth Library Board. “Being a part of PCIN will improve service at our libraries, and this is something that I think everyone is looking forward to.”
PCIN connects all libraries in Perth County. Library users are now able to go to any library in Perth County and borrow any materials without having to get a new library card.
As part of the program, users are also able to put materials on hold that are in other Perth County libraries and have them shipped to the North Perth branch of their choice.
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“It (the program) enabled us to bring the library collection of the entire County to the residents of North Perth,” stated Rebecca Dechert Sage, CEO of the North Perth Public Library. “We can put the resources our customers need in their hands much faster than we were able to before.”
Users of the library are now also able to log onto BIBLIOCOMMONS. BIBLIOCOMMONS is like a social media website for the PCIN. It allows users to tag materials to help the library better catalogue them, to “follow” other users and rate materials that they have used. The idea behind the website is that it will allow people to help other people find materials that they may not have otherwise found.
“Sometimes all it takes it one person reading a book, and saying they really enjoyed it, to get others to read it as well,” states Sage. Sage also added that PCIN is the first library group to use BIBLIOCOMMONS in North America.
Sage also stated that without the support of the many local agencies and people who wrote letters of support for the Trillium grant that this would not have been possible.
“To have that many people believe in this idea, it is a great feeling to know that we have that support,” commented Sage. “We also wouldn’t be able to afford software for programs like BIBLIOCOMMONS without being a part of PCIN.”
“Our local leaders recognized that there was a need for this,” added Sage. “And they really supported us.”
The list of supporters included Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece, Perth-Wellington MP Gary Schellenberger, the mayors of Stratford, West Perth, and North Perth, as well as members of the North Perth Library Board and Gary Moon (president of the North Perth Arts and Culture Council).
“I feel that the Ontario Trillium Foundation is one of the best working programs out government has,” added MPP Pettapiece. “And being able to go to communities and give out these grants is my favourite part of this job.”