The dream of a library extension becomes real in Killaloe

The long-awaited addition to the Killaloe & District Public Library (KDPL) was officially opened on October 22. In attendance were many people who had collaborated on the project. Mayor Janice Tiedje welcomed them on behalf of the Township of Killaloe Hagarty Richards before cutting the ribbon. Photo above shows a cheerful thumbs-up from all assembled.

Mayor Janice Tiedje (centre) cuts the ribbon held by KDPL CEO Nicole Zummach (left) and Assistant Librarian Cheryl Keetch (right), watched at rear by Glenn Allen, KDPL Board Chair, (left) and Cathy Lyons (right)

Mayor Tiedje introduced the KDPL Board members: Glenn Allen (Chair), Brian Pecoskie (Councillor and Vice-Chair), Bil Smith, Sharon Cybulski, Laurieann Norris. Michelle Bozak (Secretary) was absent due to illness. She thanked all those involved saying, “On behalf of the people that live in this beautiful municipality what an asset we have. Congratulations to everybody. Thank you to everybody that had anything to do with this…. We’ve got this beautiful touch and it’s all of you in this crowd that put that touch into making this library so special.”

The Mayor acknowledged the support of Council, the KDPL Board and Friends group, and thanked Cathy Lyons who wrote the grant application to the Ontario Trillium Foundation. She also commended KDPL staff CEO Nicole Zummach and Assistant Librarian Cheryl Keetch, volunteers, past Board members, Council members, Township staff, and the builders Zuracon.

Glenn Allen, Library Board Chair

Glenn Allen spoke about his lifelong love of libraries and his recent reading of “The Library Book” which relates stories about the Los Angeles Public Library. Allen got a chuckle from attendees when he observed two major differences between the Los Angeles Public Library and KDPL that, he said, might be worth implementing here: the LA Library has 70 branches and is open 24/7. He then pointed out the basic similarity that KDPL has with all other libraries, “A sincere dedication to learning, education and community.”

Nicole Zummach, CEO, applauds the work of KDPL supporters

Nicole Zummach acknowledged the contribution of the Ontario Trillium Foundation saying the project could not have happened without their $150,000 grant. She talked about the great support from the KDPL Board, the municipality and many community volunteers, saying, “I have been here for ten years and I have worked with four fantastic Board Chairs who are all here today: Janice, Glenn, Megan, and Lee. From the get go, all of you believed in the dream of a bigger library, got behind it and fought for it. Working so well as a team with the municipality, that’s how we make things happen. It’s a real dream come true for me to see this and now have this for the community. Thank all of you very much for believing in little dreams that become big dreams.”

No one mentioned the challenges of construction during a pandemic, or how heart-breaking it was when the site had to be temporarily shut down in April. Instead, the focus at the opening was on the satisfaction of seeing the new 1,095 square foot addition that has effectively doubled the library’s space.

From left: the stacks area and the children’s section (photos Facebook/Killaloe & District Public Library)

KDPL Board member Michelle Bozak later told The Current, “I think it is just such a coup for the entire community. The Library has wanted that for so long; trying to accommodate so many needs and expand those needs and finally they have that. The space is gorgeous. It is so well done and makes use of every little nook and cranny that they have – as they always did – but it’s a different experience in that library now.”

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