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LETTER: ‘It’s time for city council to support Bright’s Grove library project’

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Dear Editor:

The little library and art gallery amid the pines on the shores of Lake Huron is one of those places the locals love and could love more with a little help from our friends at Sarnia City Hall.

The Bright’s Grove Library Branch and the Gallery in the Grove has offered a wide range of services and cultural events for over 40 years in the lovely setting of Wildwood Park in the historic Faethorne House. But as houses go, it is now too small, not up to date and the stairs are a challenge.

To put it simply, a bigger place is needed. This house is not meeting the growing needs of the families of Bright’s Grove and beyond. With the Bright’s Grove Library Expansion Project, a new library building with a large community hub room will be built and added onto the existing historic house. The art gallery will move to the main floor of the existing building. This project will maintain the original house while creating a modern, up-to-date library. This project will go before Sarnia City Council for approval to place it in the budget.

Now for some tales for tots and City Councillors, about the happenings at the library and gallery.

During the pandemic, people turned to the curbside service the library staff offered, helping people make it through those dark days. Although not designated essential workers, they most certainly were essential to those of us who used the library.

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield took us beyond our earth with his show of photos from space in an exhibition at the art gallery. We do have some friends in high places.

Babies, toddlers and their mothers join in story times with staff, who are introducing the joy of reading, all with a little bit of fun.

Book clubs bring together people in many ways, sharing ideas and discovering new books.

Seniors and others get a little help from the staff navigating computers.

Let’s not forget the books, CDs, audiobooks, DVDs and games that are offered.

Programs with everything from knitting to tech tutoring, from toddler tales to creating ‘Blackout poetry’ are offered at the library.

About 60 volunteers help operate the Gallery in the Grove where they show the work of local and regional artists with approximately seven shows a year. Then the gallery gives back to the community, handing out $4,000 to $5,000 in scholarships to students pursuing post secondary art education. The gallery also offers Visiting Artists in the Schools to grade six students in Lambton County.

With the expansion, the community hub would allow a much wider involvement of community groups who need a space for their activities. Yoga instruction, Strangway programs, club meetings, local artists all need a place to do their work. The library will be able to hold programs such as Toddler Tales, without interrupting those working on computers in the same room.

It is time for Sarnia City Council to shine a light on Bright’s Grove and support this project.

Holly Rutherford
Camlachie, Ontario

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