It's been months in the making, but the Meaford Public Library Board and the North Grey Union Public Library board have come to an agreement on a new service contract that ensures continued membership for Sydenham residents, and also opens the door for any Meaford resident who wants to use the Owen Sound library.
“The Board of the Meaford Public Library and the Board of the Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library are pleased to announce the successful completion of negotiations for a new service agreement to ensure that all residents of the Municipality of Meaford have the opportunity to access resources and services from the Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library,” informed the two boards in a media release issued on Friday, June 23.
The new three-year agreement can be extended for an additional two years. Since amalgamation, an agreement has been in place that allowed residents of the former Sydenham Township, which was a founding member of the OSNGUPL, full use of the facility at a cost to Meaford of approximately $120,000 per year. The new agreement allows all residents of Meaford who hold library cards at the MPL full use of the OSNGUPL. Meaford Public library board chair, Mike Poetker, told The Independent that there is no change in the annual cost of the contract.
“The value of the contract is unchanged. It will continue to be at the same cost as other partners based o a three year rolling average of card holders,” said Poetker.
The issue had sparked controversy in Meaford after all public members of the library board resigned in December in the midst of negotiations with the OSNGUPL, putting the membership of Sydenham residents in jeopardy. Council appointed a new board in January, and their top priority was to come to an agreement with the OSNGUPL.
“It demonstrates that the two boards are working together to meet the spirit and intent of the Public Libraries Act, specifically that, “A Library Board shall seek to provide, in co-operation with other Library Boards, a comprehensive and efficient public library service that reflects the community’s unique needs.”” stated the boards.
Meaford councillor and chair of the Meaford library board Mike Poetker is pleased with the new agreement.
“We are appreciative that services continued while the new agreement was negotiated. The library board is pleased that we have worked cooperatively in this endeavour and we now look forward to the many exciting opportunities ahead,” said Poetker.
Richard Thomas, chair of the OSNGUPL board is equally pleased with the new agreement.
“It’s a real pleasure to have a new agreement in place. The two Libraries have spent considerable time and energy making this work for our communities. This new agreement includes membership in the Owen Sound and North Grey Union Public Library for all residents of Meaford. Our two boards worked hard to achieve this milestone - I would invite all Meaford residents to take advantage. Stop in, pick up your library card and see what we’re all about,” said Thomas.