Tillsonburg's renovated library open

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The giraffe is already standing tall.

And its similarly-nameless African friend is waiting in the wings.

“There is an elephant coming in the next week,” said Lisa Miettinen, CEO/Chief Librarian Oxford County Library. “There will be a naming contest, name the elephant, name the giraffe for the kids to participate in.”

There are many chapters still to be written.

But the renovated Tillsonburg Public Library’s current cover already indicates positive improvements to its future story.

“Correct,” Miettinen agreed. “I think people will be pleased by what they see now – but it’s going to get better.”

The renovated library opened its doors Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m., welcoming Tillsonburg’s citizenry inside for its first collective view.

“It was fairly busy this morning,” said Branch Supervisor Sydnie Lane, seated at a computer terminal, ‘doing little things that we see need to be done now that we’re here.

“Not super busy,” she added, “but steady enough, kept us on our toes.”

Staff had completed roughly a dozen new library cards, said Lane. “We’ve all done a bunch of them.”

Patrons’ number one impression of the site is ‘bright and spacious,’ said Miettinen, pleased to see the additional space for enhanced computer connectivity: nine adult terminals, two for children and two dedicated to genealogy.

“And they’re all being used.”

The fact finishing touches remain was clear near the entrance, where a trio of workers shifted operational scaffolding; trim missing in the entryway and the presence of ongoing work inside.

“This is not the official opening,” Miettinen emphasized. “This is the first day we were able to open the doors.”

More improvements are coming, she continued.

“New shelving, seating, lots of things.”

Tillsonburg artist Ches Sulkowski will also be adding his distinctive touch in the form of an historical mural he will be beginning the week of August 12.

A display rail featuring local art is already in place. Curated by Oxford Creative Connections, it will be changed every couple of months, says Miettinen.

“And it will be all local art.”

Industry back orders on items including shelving and furnishings had resulted in delays, she said.

“We were kind of at the mercy of that.”

But there was never serious thought given to delaying the renovated library site until it was 100% complete.

“We didn’t even think of delaying it because we knew we would at least be operational.”

Monday was a busy day, both inside and outside the renovated site: Tillsonburg residents may have seen Oxford County Library staff pushing shopping or book carts full of material from the temporary location across the street and further down Broadway. Doors opened Tuesday on ongoing regular hours (Monday to Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday).

Despite ongoing efforts around them, staff is thrilled to be in the newly-renovated branch, said Lane.

“And we’re excited for everyone to come in and see the huge changes.”

The grand opening is tentatively scheduled for September, said Miettinen.

“We are pulling the details together and it will be well advertised.”

In the meantime, the community’s library is back inside a location that despite being a work in progress, is beginning to feel just like ‘home’ said Lane.

“It’s getting there for sure,” she concluded. “It’s a pretty cozy space, it seems large, but at the same time, it’s pretty warm and comfy and welcoming.”




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