Low circulation leads to closure of Providence Bay library

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PROVIDENCE BAY – The writing will no longer be on the wall at the public library in Providence Bay following a decision by the Central Manitoulin library board to permanently close the facility.

“The library in Providence Bay has not been open for a while now,” said Central Manitoulin Library board chair Bruce Wiggins. “We haven’t opened it since the start of COVID.”

The challenge in opening the library is manifold, he suggested, pointing to the single set of stairs leading into the library and the challenge of maintaining physical distancing within the tiny facility.

“We looked at the numbers from before and frankly it just didn’t make a whole lot of sense (to open the library),” he said. As an amalgamated community, Central Manitoulin is blessed with six community halls and two arenas. “We just can’t sustain them all,” suggested Mr. Wiggins. “The amount that will be needed to bring everything up to code is not working out to justify what the usage is. You have to spend tax money to do that.”

He noted that the community of Providence Bay has been on a bit of a roller coaster ride when it comes to businesses and services since the 1970s. “There was a bit of a bump when the salmon fishing picked up,” he said. 

Mr. Wiggins said that he realized that the decision will not be popular. “Especially with my mother-in-law,” he said, given she is one of the library’s patrons.

An advertisement on Page 9 in this week’s paper announces a giant book sale where everything must go from 11 am to 3 pm on Friday, October 30 and Saturday October 31. The library is located at 11 Mutchmor Street in the Providence Bay community hall. All books are 10 for $2 and everything must go. Those attending are asked to wear a mask and gloves.