Community complex needed, not a new library building

Chemainus – A few days ago I attended a meeting to discuss the library in Chemainus. The organizers wanted to know how the community felt about relocating the library.

About 40 people were there, most of them probably over the age of 50. We were asked to arrange ourselves into groups of four according to our birthdays. We were then told to interview each other by answering four prepared questions. The groups then broke up and re-formed and the game continued on. The outcome was to record the information collected from the discussions.

By this time I had left. This game was complicated enough to have been thought out by a business analyzer with a PhD, although its purpose was simple: It was about control. The questions did not allow anyone to give an opinion; they let the organizers know what they wanted to hear. They said this game would give everyone a chance to have a say, and everyone did have a say, but not to the whole room, and the data collected was guided by the questions on the handouts. Where was the freedom in this?

I cannot know what is in another person’s mind; therefore I cannot answer for the community, which is what the questions asked me to do. I can only say what I want.

I like libraries, I have used them ever since I could read and write. I have hung paintings on their walls, taught writing classes and given art and literary presentations. I’ve even performed small theatre pieces, and I once worked in a library. My local librarian and library helped me through the angst of my teen years.

Thank you my wonderful librarian with your cool head; you helped me graduate. I should like to go on using library services, but large expensive buildings are no longer economically feasible just to house books for a select small reading public. These days, many people use technology to read. Fewer hard copies of books are published and printed.

Chemainus does not offer enough social outlets for its residents. We have cafes and shops, when they are not closing all the time, but we also have a great many lonely people and we have young people who need more along the lines of what they like.

My kind of Chemainus would have a community complex that houses a swimming pool; meeting rooms, that could also be used for an indoor weekly market; a café; an art gallery for local and travelling shows; a small revue theatre; a computer room for teaching the use of computers and, of course a room for books.

Houses are constantly being built. Chemainus will need more cultural and social outlets for their new owners.

I need more than a library.

Why spend money on erecting a building that is based in the past when a cultural complex could be started that complies with my needs and maybe the needs of today’s community. We should be building for the future. We should be building what is of the most use.

Eliza Hemingway

Hawkins Chemainus