The Portage Regional Library's director Jen Kendall attended this week's RM of Portage Council meeting, outlining 2022. Several interesting questions were posed to the director, while keeping in mind that there are many newcomers in the community, and everyone just came out of a pandemic.  

She shares some of those questions.

"They asked me if we're seeing more newcomers come to the library and utilizing the library, because we are looking at expanding our additional language collections and seeking funding for that," says Kendall. "We do see a lot of newcomers who want to use the library, but it is a bit of a cultural shift. Libraries aren't free in all countries. So, moving to a country where you can just go in, hang out and talk with your friends, is really unusual, sometimes."

She adds she wants everyone in the community to know that they can come in, check out books free of charge, and the library can sign you up. Kendall notes libraries are no longer places where you have to whisper, either. You can hang out and talk.

Kendall explains the RM also questioned her about statistics pointing out what demographic is returning the most to the library following COVID-19, and who remains hesitant.

"I've seen people across all age groups come in," notes Kendall. "Some people were hesitant to come in at the height of COVID, and that's perfectly understandable. We are doing things to make people as comfortable as we can, whether it be sanitizing the computer. There is our teen lounge that happens on Wednesday night, just trying to get teens to give them a nice safe space to hang out, and be with their friends for a little bit."

She adds they're trying to have programming that reaches across all ages while also providing a space for everybody to be in the library.