New library CEO Chris Stephenson said he’s examining all options to bring interim library access to Algonquin Highlands residents “before winter.”

A mold problem in Dorset and ongoing accessibility upgrades at Stanhope library have cut Algonquin Highlands residents off from easy access to Haliburton County Public Library (HCPL) services.

It’s estimated work at Stanhope will be completed before 2022, however supply chain issues have slowed construction to date.

“It’s unfortunate that we have these two branches in one municipality that are both closed,” Stephenson said.

While HCPL cardholders can access Lake of Bays libraries for free, Stephenson said “restoring library service is one of my important acts since I got here,”


 In a September library board meeting, member Curry Humphreys said directing library cardholders to neighbouring municipalities is not an acceptable solution.

“The citizens of this municipality pay taxes to Haliburton, and we should find solutions for them,” she said.

Stephenson’s investigating a number of ideas including a drop-off and pick-up location, perhaps a locker with access keys.

“I’ve also been asked to explore a private-sector arrangement,” Stephenson added.

“I’m not sure what that looks like yet but I need to spend some time asking questions about who might be a good partner.”

“Really, we need a space where people can meet someone or retrieve books or resources,” he said.

Mold at the Dorset rec centre, initially discovered in March, has forced the closure of the building since the end of May. Possible fixes being discussed at AH council range from exterior waterproofing to demolishing and reconstructing the building at a cost of $4-5 million.

Stephenson, who just stepped into his role at the end of September, said he hopes to do a branch tour on Nov. 3, in order to “have a visual on what the community looks like.”

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