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Check out a book or learn to fish. Your choice

Barrie Public Library has been evolving over the past number of years to provide much more than just books for people in the community

Everyone knows that you can check out books at the Barrie Public Library (BPL), but did you know you can check out a fishing rod and go hit the lake?

This Thursday is the library's "Learn To Fish" event from 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM at the downtown branch.

Kids from ages 4-17 can come to the library and find out why living this close to a lake is a great thing for Barrie residents.

Katelyn Lees is the Associate Manager and Philanthropy/Community Engagement director for the BPL and is proud that the third annual event is shaping up to be the biggest one yet.

“The Learn To Fish event is such a great day for us here at the library and for families,” said Lees. “We have a lot of folks already signed up but we hope to see many more smiling young faces in here by the start of it.”

learn to fish 1Barrie Public Library's Lear to Fish event begins on Thursday, June 16. Photo by Shawn Gibson for BarrieToday.

Tomorrow's session will not only teach the basics of how to fish, but also why fishing is fun, fishing safety tips, how to set up a rod, how to tie a knot and how to cast. The casting lesson will come in handy as the conclusion of the event will see the kids involved in a friendly casting competition. While the library is making sure the youth in Barrie have an opportunity to learn the beauty of fishing, they are a part of a much bigger group aimed at preserving one of Canada’s oldest activities.

“We are part of what is called a TackleShare Program,” said Lees. “We are partnered with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters in a program sponsored by the Ontario Power Generation that is aimed at teaching new and young anglers fishing at no cost. This program is dear to us here because Kempenfelt Bay is literally right down the street. You can come in, check out a fishing rod and head down to the lake.”

Not only will the Barrie Bassmasters Club will be on hand tomorrow to help with tips and pointers for making the kids better anglers, but Lees herself is a knowledgeable fisherwoman. More than just an organizer for the day, Lees may be the best source of information when the kids start asking questions.

“I have been fishing since I was a kid,” said Lees. “I’ve been fortunate to have a family cottage up north and my dad taught me how to fish at a very young age. I’ve been reeling in the big pike and bass for many years. I learned about this program a few years ago and feel it’s just so important. We all have our smartphones and iPads, but it’s really nice to get back to the tranquility of our surroundings every now and then.”

The Barrie Public Library doesn’t hand out fishing licences for adults and encourages all patrons to have one should they check-out a rod. For those under the age of 18, there is a Resident Young Angler’s License.  All you need to check out a fishing rod and tackle is a library card, which Lees recommend you get if you don’t already have.

“If you haven’t been to the library in a while, you’ll be pleasantly surprised see that we aren’t just books anymore. We have weekly activities for families and folks of all ages.”