After nearly a year without service, Algonquin Highlands readers will soon have local library access. 

Three lockers are being installed outside Robinson’s General Store in Dorset where patrons can pick up reserved library items. 

Library CEO Chris Stephenson said he’s excited to have found an interim solution. It’s a fairly innovative service,” he said. “It’s an out-of-the-box solution to a challenge.” 

Once the lockers open, likely within weeks, patrons can reserve books and materials online, using combination padlocks to pick them up.

 Stephenson said the library is rolling out an educational campaign, letting local users know when the lockers will be usable and how the system will work. Despite a small population, Stephenson said there are many steady users of the library in the area, and there will likely be deliveries to the lockers twice weekly. 


“The location couldn’t be any better,” he told the library board in a Dec. 8 meeting. Mold has closed the Dorset community centre since spring and service at the Stanhope branch is still offline, as accessibility improvements have blocked off the front entrance. 

Library staff must be vaccinated

 HPL workers must soon be vaccinated or face employment termination. The vaccination stance is “based heavily off the County draft policy,” said Erin Kernohan-Berning, branch services librarian. Patrons will not need to be vaccinated. 

Warden Liz Danielsen asked how staff felt about serving unvaccinated patrons. Kernohan-Berning said the library lacked human resources to check vaccination status, and the current policies follow suit with libraries across Ontario. 

Stephenson said “we just maintain the same practices we supported through other stages of the pandemic but said the library is ready to pivot if things turn for the worse.” That includes plexiglass partitions at counters, sanitizer, mandatory masking and spaced seating areas. 

Rebrand coming 

The library board approved funding for a HPL rebranding initiative that will result in a new logo, as well as changes to the visual appearance of the library’s literature, website, signs and more. Kernohan-Berning said an “appropriate time to do a rebrand is when you’re rolling out a new look.” Mugo Web, a company hired to build the site, will also be contracted to complete the rebranding at an estimated cost of $5,000. The company will provide the library board a chance to approve designs, fonts and more throughout the rebranding process.

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