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North Bay Public Library called a true community hub

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The North Bay Public Library recently finished some major renovations both on the inside and outside its Worthington Street East entrance.

This comes off a successful 2022 that saw nearly 150,000 visits to the library for activities or to borrow books.

Whenever three-year-old Rosie visits her mom Caitlin Wemigwans’ hometown of North Bay, the pair stop at the library for some reading and games.

“It's great for the kids,” Wemigwans said.

“It's something to do for a preschooler, which is nice. It's cool. So it's good in the summer and we get to expose her to literature and the written word.”

With the Internet and other new technologies, one would think libraries are becoming obsolete. But that’s further from the truth.

“Our library has a lot more services than just the traditional books and magazines,” said library CEO Ravil Veli.

The latest statistics from the Annual Survey of Public Libraries showed there were 149,050 visits to the library in 2022. That’s almost three times the size of the population of North Bay.

What makes the library so popular, Veli said, is the fact that’s not just for bookworms.

“We're a community hub for people to get together where it doesn't cost them anything to get together, whether they're young or they're old,” Veli said.

“As we mentioned at our meeting last night, we go everywhere from poles for hiking to GPS units for loan to and other non-traditional items that people use.”

With the Internet and other new technologies, one would think libraries are becoming obsolete. But that’s further from the truth. The latest statistics from the Annual Survey of Public Libraries showed there were 149,050 visits to the library in 2022. (Photo from video)

Recent library renovations that cost $525,000 included new outdoor signage, new steps at the entrance, a new roof, a new front counter, new lighting and security features and upgrades to meeting rooms and board rooms.

The city provides 90 per cent of the library’s funding. The other 10 per cent comes from the rest from the province.

“I'm really thrilled that the renovations are, at least this phase, coming to a close,” said North Bay city councillor and library board member Justine Mallah.

“We have a beautiful board room, an entrance that, you know, is a little safer than it was before and I’m excited for the rest of the events.”

The library offered 119 programs in 2022, with 3,678 attendees, with an average attendance of 31 per program.

Programs are held for all age groups and cover a wide variety of topics, from science and nature to making a will. Presentations by authors will soon be added to the program schedule.

Veli said 4,600 clients used the three meeting spaces at the library, available free to non-profit organizations. 

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