Last week, I ventured to Diamond Lake, Ontario with a few of my Delta Alpha sisters. On a rainy Saturday morning, since we are all bookworms, we headed out to Bruce Mines to scope out their library: Bruce Mines and Plummer Additional Union Public Library (quite the mouthful of words).

The library, which serves about 1,500 patrons annually, is located about an hour and 15 minutes (south-east) of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario on Lake Huron. Bruce Mines library serves the town of Bruce Mines, Johnson Township, and Plummer Additional Township.

For a nominal fee, residents living in surrounding areas may purchase library privileges for $20.00 (Canadian funds) and the library also offers a seasonal card for $5.00 a month or the patron may opt for annual membership. My friend, who frequents the Diamond Lake area, is a member of the library and often borrows books. Like with Michigan libraries, if a book is not in the collection, the staff at Bruce Mines are happy to inter-library loan the item from another library’s collection.

Delta Alpha Minus Three. Me = far right.

Since this visit was unannounced, I didn’t want to creep the staff and patrons out by taking photos of the library’s interior. My description will have to suffice. The library can best be described as a single-room, family-friendly community center / library with materials organized in the Dewey-fashion. A large and spacious table serves as a place to spread out a project or hold a meeting. The juvenile section hosts small tables and chairs for reading and games. Unlike most libraries I have visited and toured, I found each class of Dewey to be labeled (e.g. History and Biographies) — hopefully this makes the materials more accessible to library patrons.

Speaking of the biography section, I found two books on Barack Obama. How many books would a rural library in Michigan have on the Premier of Ontario (French: Premier ministre de l’Ontario)?

Every library is unique and this agency is certainly no exception. A community magazine swap is available as a way of recycling already read magazines. After a period of time, the magazines are phased out and sent to the area’s recycling center. 

Wikipedia has an informative write-up on the library’s history which I will quote:

It arrived from England and was aimed at the miners and other workers (bush workers, agriculture people) and was called ‘The Mechanics Institute Library and was the first library for Bruce Mines, way back in the 1860s. It was housed in the museum in the 1950s and early 60s at which time Plummer Additional and the Town of Bruce Mines collaborated and passed a bylaw forming the Union Public Library. The library moved to what is now the Arthur Henderson Public School. Johnson Township joined forces in the mid 80s by becoming a contracting library. On April 3, 1993 the library became a unit all on its own with a modern building and since then has become a hub of modern activity. The Library moved from a card-based catalogue and borrowing system to a state of the art electronic system called automation. HRDC made automation possible with a funding grant. Automation gives the library the ability to search the entire library catalogue with a few strokes of the keyboard and clicks of a mouse. 1996 brought the establishment of the first CAP (Community Access Program) site to provide internet access to the area. The library’s website was developed in 1998 under its Art Committee.