A funding boost for small-town libraries means better connectivity is on its way.
Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport was in Gravenhurst Tuesday to announce the province’s support for small-town libraries. He was joined by Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Graydon Smith and Gravenhurst Mayor Heidi Lorenz at the Gravenhurst Public Library.
The announcement means the Internet Connectivity Grant program is getting a $122,000 boost. Up to 155 libraries in communities with 20,000 people or less now have access to $582,000 to support better connectivity.
The grant program reimburses libraries when they install publicly accessible internet.
The eligible libraries include 11 from our region, including the Gravenhurst Public Library, Lake of Bays Township Public Library in Baysville, and Muskoka Lakes Public Library.
“This initiative reflects our government’s commitment to small town and rural Ontario,” says Smith. “We’re ensuring that residents of communities like Gravenhurst and those throughout Parry Sound-Muskoka have access to the same level of services as residents of big cities. Expanding access to high-quality internet connectivity enhances local quality of life for people throughout our riding. I’m proud to be a part of a government that is prioritizing investing in communities like Gravenhurst.”
Lumsden compliments Smith for being “highly interested and keen” in getting support for his riding, noting that’s why Gravenhurst was chosen as the backdrop for the announcement.
Lumsden says libraries can be a place for young people who may not have access to the internet at home to learn or for someone else to spend time relaxing on their lunch break.
“We need to continue our work to create that connectivity,” he says.