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OPL Guest Blogger – Stéphanie Plante – Munster branch

This is an image of Stephanie Plante, OPL's guest blogger
14/12/2018

Stéphanie Plante is an OPL guest blogger and a great library supporter. In 2017, she and her son Ian visited all 33 branches of the Ottawa Public Library. Discover OPL through Stéphanie’s regular posts during the course of the year!

In a world of multitasking, smart phones, side hustles, endless on-demand options and 24-hour clickbait, it is often a huge relief for people to unplug, decompress and make space for things that clear our brains of mental and physical clutter.  My social media timelines are currently filled with pictures of friends and family on holiday, clearly thrilled to not be a slave to their inbox, and relishing in the time they get to spend with their loved ones.

People often ask me what branch was my favourite during our Library Project and, hands- down, Munster takes the prize.  As someone who loves her downtown concrete-jungle life, there is something so quaint and wonderfully pared-down about Munster that I’ve since returned twice even if it’s a 40 minute drive.

Long before the ‘ping’ of our mobile phones ruled our lives, St. Stephen’s Anglican Church was located in what was known as the township of Goulbourn, Ontario. St. Stephen’s was closed by the Diocese of Ottawa in the 1960s however the building was renovated in 1982 to become a library in 1983. At that time, it was part of the Goulbourn Public Library system. You can view the pictures of the outside that I took.  The Goulbourn Public Library amalgamated with the Ottawa Public Library in 2000 hence making the Munster branch one of the furthest locations in our Library Project, and definitely the most interesting.

I’m not an architecture buff, but I love how the exposed church stone is evident on the walls. There is also an impeccably kept section devoted to home schooling, which I was particularly impressed with.  

Susan, one of the Munster branch employees, gave us a detailed tour of this tiny branch and proudly showed us where the French book collection was and asked my son what French books they should be carrying (Capitaine Bobette!). Susan also recounted the community efforts to save the original stained-glass windows and sent us off with our pile of books and recommendation for Danby’s for lunch.

I love my downtown branches and visit often, but the personal touch and community feel of the Munster branch is something all libraries should strive for.  We left the Munster neighbourhood with full bellies, smiles on our faces, and an unforgettable experience!