Equitable & Innovative Library Service throughout Mississippi Mills’ Three Wards

The library’s future is sharing resources, breaking down barriers to access, and fiscal responsibility

2 July 2021 — To anticipate the needs of the future, ensure compliance with the Ontario Public Libraries Act, and use taxpayers’ dollars most effectively, the Mississippi Mills Public Library (MMPL) Board requested Mississippi Mills Council remove the Library from the municipal Recreation Cost Sharing Agreement with Carleton Place and Beckwith. Through alternative service agreement such as reciprocal borrowing agreements or reimbursement plans, library boards have the power to determine service levels and save taxpayers money. On 6 April 2021, Mississippi Mills Council voted to support the MMPL Board‘s request.

Under the previous municipal Recreation Cost Sharing Agreement, Mississippi Mills paid 12% of the Carleton Place Public Library’s operating expenses. In 2020, 12% equated to Mississippi Mills taxpayers paying Carleton Place approximately $60,000 for library service (an increase of 30% since 2016). This payment was historically justified because many south Ramsay residents use Carleton Place Public Library (CPPL) as their community library. (An older FAQ on this issue is here.)

Starting October 1, 2021, MMPL will offer reimbursements of CPPL non-resident fees to south Ramsay residents who wish to continue with CPPL as their community library. A form will be available from the library site or by request at that time. The reimbursement plan is estimated to save Mississippi Mills approximately $30,000 for library services in 2022 alone. The reimbursement plan will be reviewed annually by the MMPL Board. The plan applies to south Ramsay residents (if interested, request the approved area map of south Ramsay from MMPL). Please note: Mississippi Mills Council is responsible for determining how the cost savings are reallocated.

Reimbursement plan details

The MMPL Board has set the reimbursement fees for south Ramsay residents using CPPL at $30/person or $55/family. These fees were set based on the following information:

  • Carleton Place Public Library’s non-resident fees as of June 2021 are $30/person and $55/family
  • The average non-resident fee in Eastern Ontario (library systems from Kingston to Ottawa) is $35 per person.
  • Mississippi Mills Public Library’s non-resident (outside Lanark County) fees are $30/adults, $10/child, $45/ family. As of 18 March 2021, MMPL, leading by example, eliminated non-resident fees for all library users in Lanark County. Library patrons from Beckwith, Carleton Place, Lanark Highlands, Perth, Tay Valley, Montague and Drummond North Elmsley may join MMPL at no charge – and many already have!

The reimbursement fees will not expand to cover increases beyond the fair and reasonable $30/person or $55/family. If CPPL increases its non-resident fees, south Ramsay users will need to pay any difference. The reimbursement program begins 1 October 2021. The reimbursed fee is for a period of one year, e.g. 1 October 2021 to 1 October 2022. etc.

Reciprocal Borrowing and Future of Library Service

Mississippi Mills Public Library’s ultimate goal is to have free reciprocal borrowing agreements with all libraries in Lanark County. A reciprocal borrowing agreement between the Library Boards of Carleton Place and Mississippi Mills is the best solution for residents who wish to use both libraries. MMPL has reciprocal borrowing agreements with Perth & District Union Public Library and Lanark Highlands. Libraries throughout Ontario are rapidly signing reciprocal borrowing agreements to help break down barriers to information and welcome neighbouring library patrons. The Mississippi Mills Public Library and Board embrace free access to information and resources across boundaries as the future of library service.

About Mississippi Mills Public Library (MMPL)

MMPL has evolved into an information, creation, and exploration community hub. Even during the challenges of the pandemic, the Library circulated books, magazines and DVDs through pick-up service (over 91,000 items in 2020), hosted Lego robotics and computer-programming workshops, offered 2,302 activity/craft kits for all ages, and provided access to downloadable eBooks, audiobooks and videos. The library’s FREE Tech Tutor service is used by residents across Mississippi Mills, in-library, by phone and online. Throughout this challenging time, MMPL has proven to be a resilient, thriving library system with an aim to improve the quality of life for all Mississippi Mills residents.

The MMPL mission is to inspire lifelong learning, provide equitable access to information, advance knowledge and strengthen our community. The library has two branches: Almonte branch at 155 High St., Almonte • 613-256-1037 or almontelib@missmillslibrary.com and Pakenham branch at 128 MacFarlane St., Pakenham • 613-624-5306 or pakenhamlib@missmillslibrary.com • www.missmillslibrary.com • get a library card

For further information on any topic in this news release, please contact MMPL Board Chair, Cathy Peacock at cpeacock@missmillslibrary.com