The Parry Sound Public Library (PSPL) is adapting to the pandemic-fueled shift to remote technologies for work and school.
Parry Sound Muskoka’s MPP, joined PSPL and town officials Friday afternoon to launch the library’s new “Mute boxes”. Selena Martens, PSPL CEO says she first started working at the library as a high school student in 2004, and in all that time she’s heard many requests from the public for a private space in the library to have a meeting or study.
Martens says this present incarnation of the library was built in 1963 as an open-concept layout. “It’s a beautiful building and we all really love it in this community. However, if somebody wants to do a private Zoom call, for example, that has been very difficult for us to accommodate until now,” she says.
Martens says in the past few years many industries saw a big increase in the use of tech for working remotely which in turn led to an increase in this demand that already existed for private rooms in the library.
“These mute boxes acquired and installed through the Ontario Trillium Grant, dampen the ambient noise of the library. They have built-in lighting, a ventilation system, and power outlets,” she says. Martens adds this makes them the best way to accommodate the wide variety of people who may need them for studying, Zoom conferences, meetings, and many other uses.
“I’m happy to say that they have already proven to be a big success with our patrons. Just the other day we had a group of three high school students in this box here studying for their final exams and I foresee that the boxes will be well used for many years to come,” she says.
Martens says the PSPL board and staff are deeply grateful to the OTF’s Resilient Communities Fund and to the town for allowing the library this opportunity to enhance its space in this way.
Speaking to Moose FM staff after cutting the new Mute-box’s ribbon, MPP Graydon Smith says he thinks the boxes are a really great addition to the library. “The people can come in and have a private space to do some studying or have a meeting with a couple of people. Obviously really important that a community space has the ability to provide that function so this [OTF Grant] is something that’s really beneficial for Parry Sound and the surrounding communities and I’m sure one that is going to be put to use a lot,” he says.
Susan Murphy Vice Chair of PSPL Board and Carling Township’s Mayor says the library has a tremendous history, “as a child the library was in the basement of the Parry Sound town office and its history goes back before that, even if I don’t,” she says. Murphy adds there’s a long tradition of bringing enthusiasm for learning, exploring, and believing in ourselves through this library.
Speaking on behalf of the OTF, Lee-Ann Turner, Grant Review Team Volunteer says the foundation is proud to support small communities such as the Town of Perry Sound. “[The OTF] knows that the $54,000 Resilient Community Fund Grant that [Parry Sound] received last year will have long-term impacts.”