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Niagara Falls
Sunday, December 10, 2023
Toys, coats, corkscrews, lamps fixed at library Repair Cafe

Children’s toys, cork remover presses, coats, cassette players, toaster ovens — you name it, they fix it once a month at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library.

The second-ever Repair Cafe was a hit Saturday, with people bringing in items for the fixin’ almost an hour before the event was even supposed to have started, said library associate Sylvia Eady.

Volunteer fixer Tony Carriere said one item that came in was an old cork remover press that a couple didn’t want to part with.

“It was a big one. It was actually quite neat looking. I’m pretty sure I got it fixed,” he said.

Jim Campbell, another volunteer who offered his skills, was there to repair “whipper-snippers,” he said, though nobody had showed up with one by noon.

Campbell said he developed most of his repair knowledge by owning a cottage up north for 30 years.

“I learned a lot up there doing electrical, plumbing, the whole bit,” he said. “I do my own (electrical) at home in the basement.”

He said most things he sees coming through are lamps that need the bulb fitting fixed.

“It’s what we call diagnostics 101,” volunteer Ed Hare said. “You just check things like the power.”

He said earlier somebody brought in a toaster, but they realized it wasn’t broken, they just hadn’t plugged it in.

“In that case, plugging it in worked,” he said.

Another item for the fixing was a remote control toy car that had a bad battery.

“So once we went and tested every single battery, we found one that was a dud and put a new battery in (and it worked).”

He said another woman came in with a lamp that had been in her family for a while, and they were able to fix it for her.

“It was a keepsake for her … I guess it had been in her family for a bit,” he said. “Those are the happy stories.“

Other times the problem is fixed with a little cleaning.

“Sometimes it’s just dirt,” Hare said.

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