The Guelph Tool Library Hits the Airwaves to Stay Connected With Guelphites

By Thirza Armstrong

When COVID-19 hit in early March, the Guelph Tool Library understood that our entire model of community support was, essentially, for the birds. Operating out of a school board-owned location, we had less than a week to prepare for our enforced closure. With no street entrance and with schools remaining closed into the fall, when we can resume our old ways, if ever, is open to interpretation. As with everything, COVID-19 has made us feel uncomfortable and anxious for what the future holds. But, if you had thought that this (admittedly large) road block would stop the GTL from spreading its mission of sharing, growing, and supporting, you would be mistaken.

We knew things were going to be uncertain and ever changing, and that whatever we did would need to start quickly and be adaptable. As guidelines on physical distancing and safety protocols evolved by the hour, we tried to evolve with it. With about two days’ notice from when closures were announced to when they went into effect, we took to the internet. Instead of finding us on the top floor of Tytler Public School, you can now find us hosting workshops, seminars, and podcasts almost every night of the week. On Mondays, Workshop Coordinator Steph Clarke hosts community craft nights over Zoom. From 6-9pm, drop in to ask sewing or crafting questions, get inspiration, or just socialize with those outside your approved dwelling of under 5 people! On Wednesdays, head to the Backyard Caring project’s Instagram to see Meredith Sweeney, BYC Coordinator, give instructions on the best methods for backyard gardening. On Thursday nights, Steph returns to chat with volunteer fixers over Instagram live on maintenance and repair of household items like cast irons, zippers, sewing machines, and drywall. On Fridays, our new podcast, The Crow’s Nest comes out.

The Crow’s Nest. GTL’s new podcast series with host Thirza Armstrong. Image credit: Beth Bray

The Crow’s Nest is the GTL’s answer to the enforced shift in our expression of community. The days of running into someone with a story to tell are on hold. We can no longer strike up a conversation with a stranger in a coffee shop about an overheard shared interest. There’s no chance of insight into the lives of our neighbours, no opportunity to lend support. We understand that a vital sphere of interaction may be missing from the lives of most people who are stuck at home. Our goal is to make reconnecting with that missing piece as easy as possible.

Thirza Armstrong small
Thirza Armstrong, The Crow’s Nest host and GTL Operations Coordinator

           Outside of connection and entertainment, the goal of the podcast is to act as a database of stories, memories, experiences, and ideas. Thirza Armstrong, host and GTL Operations Coordinator, talks with guests about Coronavirus, their personal lives and projects, the issues affecting the community right now and what we can do to help, local history, and more. The current overarching theme is COVID-19 and its effects on people’s lives and industries, as well as the positive interactions and community rallying that has come out during the pandemic.

The Crow’s Nest, along with all of the GTL’s online programming, is designed to help bridge this gap in community interaction in whatever way is needed. We’re here to be here for you, so don’t be a stranger! Check out our social media to find out more, or get involved.

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