By Amanda Duncombe-Lee
The Stanhope branch of the Haliburton County Public Library (HCPL) will re-open to the public on Dec. 3, after being closed for over two years to undergo renovations.
In 2019, with the help of the Township of Algonquin Highlands, an Enabling Accessibility Grant was awarded to upgrade the accessible features of the library, including a new lift, automatic door, and an exterior concrete ramp. The library initially closed to the public in March 2020.
Library staff said that while they await the arrival of several missing parts required to complete the renovation, library patrons will once again be able to browse the collection, attend programs and utilize library services in Stanhope.
HCPL also plans to host a grand opening celebration to recognize accessibility improvements made at the branch once the project has been fully completed.
In a November HCPL media release, Gayle Wetmore, branch supervisor, said she is encouraged by the progress. “I’m so excited for the re-opening. I look forward to welcoming back familiar faces and meeting new members to the branch. I’ve missed everyone so much.”
The renovation was initially planned to be completed during the COVID-19 lockdown closures, but supply chain problems resulted in a delayed project timeline. While the exterior concrete ramp has been completed and the foyer has been refreshed, staff are still waiting for the new automatic door, as well as an inspector to approve the lift that will accommodate wheelchair users down to the basement and up to the library.
Library CEO/chief librarian Chris Stephenson said he is excited to welcome the community back to the library. “We’re grateful for their patience and really excited to welcome them back. They can see a familiar face with Gayle Wetmore, who is working very hard to prepare the branch for opening,” he said.
The library, located at 1109 North Shore Road, will officially open on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. Refreshments will be served, and Stephenson will be there to personally welcome patrons and let them know about new programs and services coming to Stanhope.
“I hope as many people can come as possible on Saturday,” said Stephenson. “I look forward to welcoming them personally. We really appreciate the help of the municipal staff and council for making this possible – helping with the grant, coordinating the work, and making the decision to allow the library to resume operations.”
By Amanda Duncombe-Lee