Guelph Bookmobile service to be focus of Ward 2 town hall meetings

The following article appeared in the April 6 edition of the Guelph Mercury:

A pair of town hall meetings this week for Ward 2 residents will largely focus on the future of the Guelph Public Library’s Bookmobile service.

The meetings will be held at two retirement homes where residents have been vocal in their opposition to a suggestion to take the mobile lending service off the road to save money.

“A lot of these residents don’t have the same mobility as other residents do, so I thought we would bring the town hall to them,” explained Ward 2 councillor Ian Findlay, who organized the meetings.

The meetings will be held Wednesday at the Elliott Community on Metcalfe Street and Thursday at Guelph Lake Commons on Victoria Road North. Both meetings start at 7 p.m. and are expected to run a couple of hours.

Findlay said his north-end ward has “a high concentration of seniors” who have expressed “a lot of support” for the Bookmobile.

Chief librarian Kitty Pope and other library staff will be on hand to collect feedback and answer questions.

Pope said yesterday she has received a petition signed by 108 residents of Guelph Lake Commons and a letter signed by 39 residents of the Elliott.

“They are both huge users of the Bookmobile,” Pope said.

“Their main concern is losing something they really value,” Findlay’s fellow Ward 2 councillor, Andy Van Hellemond, said of residents.

During budget deliberations, councillors approved just half of the $240,000 annual cost of running the service. A service review is underway and staff will report back to the library board.

A report will then go to the community and social services committee in June “and then we’re hoping city council will approve keeping it on the road for the rest of the year,” Pope said, adding councillors will also see a “revised service plan” aimed at reducing the cost of the service.

Findlay said given the level of feedback since budget night about proposals to scrap the Bookmobile service, he would not be surprised if the town hall meetings draw a wide audience.

“Everyone is welcome,” Findlay said. “I represent Ward 2 and it’s my job to put these meetings on, but certainly any city resident is welcome to come.”