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Changes coming to library access in Tiny Township with end to 30-year agreement

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The long-standing agreement allowing residents of Tiny Township free access to libraries in Springwater, Penetanguishene and Midland is ending.

For the foreseeable future through 2024, library users from Tiny will be required to choose a primary library, with the Township reimbursing any non-user fees charged by the three municipalities involved.

The value of these libraries goes beyond books.

"Currently, we're running seniors programs, walk-in lunches, we've been to the ROM museum, we have Spanish classes, we have programs for kids," explained Linda Keenan, the CEO of the Penetanguishene Public Library.

"I come here to learn Spanish from an amazing Spanish teacher. My grandkids come for children's programs. This is an important community centre for us," said Tiny resident Jane Milner.

Staff with the Penetanguishene Library says more than 30 per cent of their traffic comes from Tiny Township.

"I have to tell you I'm here almost every day, and I use it for research for my profession," said Cyril Leeper of Tiny.

"Online, on the cloud, I do a lot of reading on my tablet," added fellow resident Debbie Slingerland.

While the move is expected to bring cost savings for the Township, officials emphasized the ultimate aim is to foster independent infrastructure development within Tiny, including a local library.

"At the library, you can get a transit pass, you can get your dog tag, you can get all sorts of things, so people come here and come to Penentang and come to Midland for all sorts of reasons," said Michele Perrault, a Tiny resident who has volunteered at the Penetanguishene Library for more than 20 years.

"One of our four pillars of this council's strategy is infrastructure investment. We have over 19,000 registered voters in Tiny, an increasingly permanent population, which is a change from the past," reasoned Tiny Township Mayor David Evans.

Library users from Tiny who were unaware of this change said they wish it were communicated better.

"There probably should've been some sort of a mailing because not everybody has the access to email, text, to go online and look at stuff on the Township page," said Tiny resident Marlene Stewart.

Details regarding the reimbursement system for library cards in neighbouring municipalities are yet to be finalized, with upcoming council meetings expected to shed light on the specifics. Residents were advised to stay updated on the Township's website for further information.

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