Robin Greenall

Amherstburg library closure extended at least another month

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Repairs are taking longer than expected at the Amherstburg library.

The new target date for the branch to be open is April 30, as repairs to the lower level are taking longer than expected. Repairs were necessary to the basement due to water seepage with the closure having taken place Feb. 20.

“It’s a 100-year-old building so remediation sometimes takes a little longer,” explained Robin Greenall, chief librarian and CEO with the Essex County Library (ECL) system.

Resources were removed from the basement of the library and many were moved upstairs. Greenall said when the construction concludes, library staff will have to go in and set the shelving and materials back up in order to be ready for the public.

The Amherstburg library will be closed until April 30. The closure was extended as more work is needed to make repairs to the basement, which experienced water seepage.

The upstairs portion of the library will not require major work before the branch is reopened.

“We need to have a thorough cleaning on the upstairs. That’s the extent of the upstairs issue,” she said.

In the meantime, Greenall said the Essex County Library will continue with what it has been doing since the closure started. That includes having “pop-up libraries” at the Libro Centre every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Hours are 3:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursday and 12:30-4:30 p.m. Saturdays.

“We’re still offering service by mail,” Greenall stated.

Residents can also visit any other 13 branches within the Essex County Library system.

“They are certainly welcome to stop by any of our other libraries,” said Greenall.

Signage is posted on the doors of the Amherstburg library, advising of the closure and the alternative methods of service during the closure.

People can also visit www.essexcountylibrary.ca and access library services online, she added, and receive updates on the closure on the web as well. Residents can also visit the Essex County Library on Facebook and follow the Essex County Library on Twitter by searching “@EssexCountyLib.”

“We’re looking forward to returning the branch to full operation,” said Greenall.

Residents who would like more information can call ECL administration at 519-776-5241.

Amherstburg Library branch closed for repairs

 

 

By Julianna Bonnett

 

The Essex County Library’s Amherstburg branch is closed for repairs.

The branch will be closed in order to repair the water-damaged lower level of the library. The closure took effect Tuesday.

During the construction period, the Essex County library will be providing a “pop-up” library at the Libro Credit Union Centre, located at 3295 Meloche Road. The staff of the library will be available for a limited amount of hours. A “pop-up” library was held last Saturday and similar ones are planned during the temporary closure. There will be a selection of books and resources to check out at such “pop-up” libraries.

Robin Greenall, the CEO of the Essex County Library said any other location is open to everyone.

”Due to the water damage that occurred last fall, the library will be closed. Amherstburg is one of 14 branches in the Essex County Library, any members are welcome to use those 14 locations,” said Greenall.

Julie Feher, a resource assistant at the Amherstburg library, stands at a recent “pop up” library at the Libro Centre. As construction has closed the library for five weeks starting Feb. 20, the Essex County Library will provide a ‘pop-up’ library at the Libro Centre (3295 Meloche Rd.), where library staff will be available for limited hours, with a selection of books and resources to check out. A detailed schedule of the ‘pop-up’ hours and service details will be available by visiting www.essexcountylibrary.ca.

Updates will also be provided via the Essex County Libraries social media channels at facebook.com/EssexCountyLibrary and EssexCountyLib on Twitter.

“We started with the pop-up library as a way to connect with our community partners. Since we were closed, we felt we needed to provide the public with an alternative service. We like to connect with our community partners which is the local municipality and they generously offered us the use of their space,” said Greenall.

The closure of the branch is estimated to take approximately five weeks; in order to repair the water-damaged lower level. The building is owned by the Town of Amherstburg with the town undertaking the work.

The town recently received $92,396 from the County of Essex with that money being the town’s share of the $790,000 surplus that accumulated during the library strike.

In addition, home mail delivery service will be available for Amherstburg residents who would like to continue to receive their requested/-reserved items. For residents that acquire more information they are encouraged to call the Essex County Library administration at 519-776-5241.

 

 

 

 

Town to use share of library surplus funds on repairs to building

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The County of Essex has released some of the surplus funding accumulated during the library strike.

For Amherstburg, it means getting the full share as allotted by the county.

There was roughly $790,000 saved by the county during the Essex County Library strike of 2016-17 with Amherstburg’s share being calculated at $92,396. The calculation was based on Amherstburg having 11.7 per cent of the county levy.

Library CEO/chief librarian Robin Greenall said that the surplus funding was originally kept in the county’s rate stabilization reserve.

Essex County council decided last summer to place the surplus funding in a reserve with the funding to be distributed in the form of grants to the lower tier municipalities “who apply to use their proportionate share of the $790,000 towards capital improvements or enhancements to libraries located within their municipality.”

Five municipalities, including Amherstburg, applied to the Essex County Library Board for funding with the board making their recommendations to county council.

Greenall said Amherstburg will use its $92,396 to help fund a capital project to help repair damage to the lower level of the branch. The lower level of the Amherstburg library has experienced damage due to water seepage but Greenall’s report to county council states that the estimated cost, pending an RFP/RFQ process, is expected to exceed $93,000.

Julie Feher, a resource assistant at the Amherstburg library, stands at a recent “pop up” library at the Libro Centre. As construction will close the library for five weeks starting Feb. 20, the Essex County Library will provide a ‘pop-up’ library at the Libro Centre (3295 Meloche Rd.), where library staff will be available for limited hours, with a selection of books and resources to check out, beginning Feb. 17. A detailed schedule of the ‘pop-up’ hours and service details will be available by visiting www.essexcountylibrary.ca.

The Municipality of Leamington will receive its full allocation of $98,951 and will use its funding towards a full renovation project at its John St. branch. Greenall’s report indicates the cost of that renovation is projected to be between $750,000 and $1 million.

Essex will be receiving its full share of the funding – $75,013 – to help support capital projects at its Gosfield Townline branch. The funds will be put towards a new roof that is estimated at $100,000, a new canopy roof at the library entrance estimated at $7,000 and the installation of three new HVAC units, estimated at $23,000.

The Town of Kingsville will receive $40,000 of its allocated $94,150 for work at two of the branches. The branch on Main St. West will have three accessible door operators installed at a cost of $6,000. The remaining $34,000 will be put towards replacement of all windows and doors at the Ruthven branch.

Lakeshore will receive $32,000 of its $186,266 share for work at two branches. A concrete walkway at its Toldo Branch, located within the Atlas Tube Centre, estimated at $27,000 will be installed to reduce a tripping hazard and vandalism while the remainder will be used on another concrete walkway at its Stoney Point branch.

The remaining shares of the $790,000 in funding sees LaSalle in line to receive $123,385 and Tecumseh allocated $119,839. Those two municipalities have yet to request their shares of the surplus.

Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos said it was “positive to see the response from member municipalities” in terms of wanting to enhance their branches. He suggested that the member municipalities follow up with a letter upon the completion of the works to show that the money was used and what it was used for.

(UPDATE: After the publication of the Feb. 14 print edition, the Essex County Library issued the following press release:

“The Essex County Library (ECL)’s Amherstburg Branch (232 Sandwich St. South) will be closed to the public as of Tuesday, February 20, 2018. The closure is anticipated to last approximately five weeks, in order to repair the water-damaged lower level of the library.

During the construction period, the Essex County Library will provide a ‘pop-up’ library at the Libro Credit Union Centre (3295 Meloche Rd.), where library staff will be available for limited hours, with a selection of books and resources to check out, beginning on Saturday, February 17. A detailed schedule of the ‘pop-up’ hours and service details will be available by visiting www.essexcountylibrary.ca. Updates will also be provided via ECL’s social channels at www.facebook.com/EssexCountyLibrary and @EssexCountyLib on Twitter.

In addition, home mail delivery service will be available for Amherstburg residents who would like to continue to receive their requested/reserved items. Residents are also welcome to visit any other ECL branch location. Residents requesting more information are encouraged to ECL Administration at (519) 776 5241.”)

Library talks still at a stalemate

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Talks in the nearly three-month-old library strike have still not produced a new collective agreement despite two days of talks last week.

CUPE 2974, the union representing the 58 library workers that have been striking since June 25, withdrew its bad faith bargaining charge in order to get the Essex County Library Board back to the table. The two sides met Sept. 13-14 and CUPE 2974 unit chair Lori Wightman said that while questions were answered, no deal was struck.

“We did not come to any agreement,” said Wightman.

Talks are still stuck on the sick time and short-term disability issue, she said, and that is the same issue that resulted in the workers hitting the picket lines to begin with. Wightman did state that 19 workers that were not covered under management’s proposal now would be looked after but added that was an issue the union had to point out to the board mid-way through the current strike.

CUPE 2974 have had picketers at each of the 14 library branches within the Essex County system, including Amherstburg (pictured). The strike has entered its fourth week.

CUPE 2974 have had picketers at each of the 14 library branches within the Essex County system, including Amherstburg (pictured). The strike has been going on since June 25.

“It doesn’t fix the underlying issue that put us on strike,” she said. “It’s not really progress. It was a problem they didn’t know of until halfway through the strike.”

Wightman told the RTT last Friday that no new talks were scheduled.

“CUPE is always willing to talk any time, anywhere but we don’t have anything scheduled,” she said.

Three new counter-proposals were given to the board, Wightman added, but those were all rejected.

Spirit on the picket line is still strong, even a bit angry, she continued, but “we are still positive. We will do what we have to do to get a fair deal.”

The public is still signing petitions and giving the striking library workers support and snacks while on the line. The workers plan on being at the next Essex County council meeting, which is slated for Sept. 21.

Messages left with Essex County Library Board chair Richard Meloche and Essex County Library chief librarian/ CEO Robin Greenall were not returned as of press time.