BOOK NEWS: Toronto’s budget cuts hurt libraries and irk this GOP

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I’m a GOP member. Not the ‘Grand Old Party’ of American politics, but the demographic of Grumpy Old Persons and I’ve got another major gripe, along with Heather Mallick of the Toronto Star.

Toronto plans to slash library budgets in Toronto.

First, you must read the article written by Toronto Star columnist Heather Mallick who defends against the threat of slashed budgeting by the City of Toronto. Mallick’s defence is not as vociferously verbalized as this great columnist is capable of writing. Still, read what she says for it is a springboard to what I have to add.

Mallick’s article

Libraries are the lifeblood of a community’s brain. Academic, hobbyist, bookworm, young, old, slow of body, slow of mind, everybody has access to the library in the community in which they live. Those who have gone to one, return often, again and again and again.

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The Toronto city councillors proving themselve to be luddites of narrow focus and without any foresight. Do they not realize that culture of every society is retained and passed on to the next generation through the depository of words. Aboriginals used narrated tales; medieval and modern troubadours sang the legacies of the past, our libraries are the post printing press verbal vaults of current society. Today’s libraries kick it up a notch technologically with patrons able to use computers and access the Internet.

The short-sightedness of these councillors is shocking; complete disregard of their responsibility and obligations to future generations, to future residents of the very community they represent.

I am a late comer to library use, motivated by a spouse who once was a head librarian in a secondary school. My gratitude for opening my eyes to the library is beyond words. I use the library in so many ways: movies, music, reference and book borrowing. My use of library services lagged behind the pace of the development of new services.  Computers, technology classes and clubs, wine and beer tasting workshops, exercise classes, sociology and psychology workshops. The catalogue of services grows and grows. The Toronto library, the one which may see budget cuts if the far-thinking councillors succeed in their new policy endeavours, even offers use of musical instruments for library patrons interested in learning to play. Amazing!

For those unfamiliar with modern libraries, visit your local library on a Saturday. Just walk around it and look around the promotional posters, the displayed activity notices, the facilities and technology available, but most importantly, look at the patrons who are there. Every age group, every interest group, a representative snapshot of your entire community sitting there interacting with the library…and those are the ones who remain behind to use the actual facility. There are many, many more who have used the library service and gone home.

Home? Today, you can even access and use library services from home. Don’t get wet, don’t shiver in the cold, don’t even dress up…sit in your pajamas with your slippers on your feet and access the world through the portal of you local library.

Cut back on the library’s budget? What an absurd consideration. Visit your local library to confirm it is so!

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