Kids return to the renovated Inwood Library


A child selects a book while the politicians open the newly renovated Inwood Library


Marie Shilson and Nola Tait can remember the “little wee white house” which was once the Inwood Library.

As they sat in the new expanded Inwood Library, they could hardly believe the difference. Brooke Alvinston and the federal government spent about $225,000 to renovate the library and add a meeting area to the existing building. The library, which had been closed since July for the renovations, reopened Saturday and the rooms were filled to capacity as excited children, politicians and the former librarians came in to get a look.

Tait, who worked 19 years as a librarian in the white house and at the current building, didn’t think she would ever see this happen. “I didn’t think it would last that long,” she says of the library which has had a presence in the town since 1902. “The kids had gone and moved away and gone off to school.” But Tait says a few new families in the community means the Inwood Library remains a busy place.

Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MP Bev Shipley admits sometimes it is difficult to convince bureaucrats and fellow MPs that small facilities in little towns should receive grants. Shipley says he and his rural colleagues have to push for funding so “small towns can offer as much opportunity as big cities.”

Robert Tremain, general manager of cultural services for Lambton County which runs the system, says libraries remain vital to small communities. That came through loud and clear during consultations on the libraries future, he says.

“You told us, yes, you still want a place for Jane or Johnny to come to a library to work after school,” says Tremain.

He says libraries are changing and growing offering “digital literacy” from the youngest to the oldest customers. But he says libraries will always be “a place for the community.”

And Brooke-Alvinston Mayor Don McGugan hopes they will always remain a place for the children of the community. During the grand opening, he encouraged the 20 or so children present to use the building frequently.

“It is so important for you to learn how to read,” says McGugan, whose mother used to take him to the public library once a week when he was a child. “When you have nothing to do, it is so exciting to read.”

“Anything is achievable. Some of you can be an astronaut, some of you can have Mr. Shipley’s job.”