By Charlotte Oduol 
BELLEVILLE – With just about 60 instruments when it was first founded in 2019, The Musical Instrument Lending Librar y has now grown 4 times larger, housing almost 230 instruments.
The library, also known as the MILL, is based in Stirling.
Founder of the MILL James Reid, says a lot has changed around the library during the pandemic.
“When this first started we were closed down like all the other libraries in the province for almost 2 to 3 months in the spring. That was the real kick in the behind.”
The MILL reopened again at the end of May which helped them successfully ran a curbside operation for a month.
“This last year has been slowly picking things up again. We reopened with people coming into the library which has made the business a lot easier and busier too.”
Reid says he has definitely seen growth in the number of people wanting to loan instruments since the pandemic began.
And like others, Reid says this time has provided him an opportunity to learn a lot about the variety of new instruments, and also how to play them.
“I always wanted to play the cello for a long time when I was a kid. I had two sisters who played the cello but I wasn’t allowed to play the cello. But now because of this opportunity, I have a chance to learn the cello,” said Reid
Reid says daily he hears several reasons from patrons about why they are borrowing these instruments but a common reason would be they want to learn new instruments.
While QNet News was talking to Reid via Zoom, a borrower came into the library. She plays the cello, but wanted to learn the violin. The library gave her the opportunity to learn the new instrument.
MILL has also been working on implementing additional loan programs through partner libraries which they have been planning for the last year
“With these new changes, one can now pick up an instrument in Trenton and Madoc libraries with the Marmora and Belleville library coming along fairly soon,” said Reid.
The library also now quarantines all the instruments for seven days after they are returned before getting them ready to send back out.
“Most times we prefer to do a blanket quarantine of seven days across the whole thing. I mean I would rather be safe than sorry, wouldn’t you?”