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Niagara Falls
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Editorial: Library a welcome mix of old and new

There’s a stark contrast to the modern Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library and what you might expect to find in a town steeped in rich local history. And it's something for which we can all be thankful.

The newness of the building, the open, bright and often-dusted shelves, provide a fresh literary atmosphere. At first glance, that brightness and openness might feel slightly at odds with the historical significance of the town.

One might expect ancient volumes on endless dark shelves in a quiet alcove of antiquity. Something more reminiscent of the Addison Library at St. Mark’s Anglican Church. With its collection of books brought over from England dating back to 1548, the small but crucial collection tells the story of the town’s wartime beginnings and its rise from the ashes.

The welcoming, exuberant library in the new building on Anderson Lane tells an altogether different story.

The cheerful faces in the well-lit space weave a tale of community coming together. It provides the perfect setting for newcomers to town, both young and old, to meet over a shared love of books.

But more than books, NOTL’s library offers programming bridging gaps between what you once knew and what you have longed to learn.

Free “Ask a Tech” sessions provide solutions to questions about common and new technological gadgets. STEAM Storytime emerses children in science, technology, engineering/environment, art and math. The Camelot Years in Physics by Dr. William Brown offers a limited weekly comprehensive talk on “the most productive period in the history of science.”

More than free sessions to boost personal interests and education, library staff are always thinking forward, planning the next event and working to engage the community. COVID-19 shut down the world for a few brief but impactful months, and the library with it, but staff have since picked up where they left off by adapting to the new world of virtual event planning.

The space is so much more than old books and ancient history – the NOTL Public Library is a community hub with the drive to reach the residents in town where they are, to continually engage people any way they can.

Much like the incredible people who have been born and raised here, or the equally fascinating people who have been drawn to NOTL for one reason or another over the years, the library is a beautiful mashup of young and old, modern and historical, mundane and extraordinary. It is an important institution that helps make Niagara-on-the-Lake the incredible town we all know it to be.

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