50 stories: “Much like beer, there are no bad libraries… just good and better” #hcpl50

HL mindenThis week’s story is from Mark Bernier who visits our Minden Hills branch.

During my recent visit to the Minden branch of the Haliburton library I found a small slip of paper titled “what does your public library mean to you?” and I will take a couple of moments to make a comment or two about the Haliburton library.

I have been around the block a couple of times, and have a great many memories of libraries both good and bad. However much like beer, there are no bad libraries just good and better. I have used small libraries, large ones, highly specialized technical libraries, and dedicated research collections. However when it comes down to the basics, a public library is public, a facility that allows everyone to have the benefits and the access to all kinds of information that was not that long ago restricted to a small population who were wealthy or academics.

I use the Minden branch of the library most often, and it is a welcoming place, never horribly busy, but never empty either. The collection of physical books is good and the access to interlibrary loans and research databases is very good. The free access to the Internet is a huge plus in our busy connected lives. I would be at a loss if it wasn’t there. The only difficulty is the limited number of hours that the library can be open and remain within budget. I am sure that the people working on a picnic table outside in the evening would much prefer to be inside at the computer workstations.

The thing most notable about this library is the staff. Unlike libraries in larger communities the staff here quickly gets to know the patrons and always has a greeting with a smile, a comment, sometimes an opinion on a book but in any event they have an honest human communication with everyone who enters. This is what in my view elevates this particular library branch above the crowd.

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