Monday, August 13, 2007

Library cuts in Toronto

Toronto libraries get piledrived.

A sign of the times.  I went to BMV books next to the World's Biggest Bookstore last Sunday and they were very busy, with a huge backlog of boxes of books, magazines, and movies they were purchasing & pricing, and lots of browsers.

They have compressed their Sundays into shorter hours to save costs too.

I can see that stores like Chapters & BMV will see some increases in sales after library cuts, though the people who will suffer most are the fixed income, new immigrants, and students who can't afford the $20-$40 average price for a book.

What leaves are being torn from the Toronto Public Library? To start with, the Toronto Reference Library, the Lillian H. Smith Library (affecting both the Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books and the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculative and Fantasy literature), and fourteen other branches (including North York Central, Albert Campbell, Bloor/Gladstone, Brentwood, Don Mills, Downsview, Eatonville, Fairview, Goldhawk Park, New Toronto, Northern District, Pape/Danforth, Parkdale, and Parliament) will be closed on Sundays beginning in September. Furthermore, a seventeenth branch (Jane/Dundas, currently undergoing renovations) will be mothballed until further notice. On top of this, the TPL has reportedly cancelled the purchase of 14,000 items, mostly books and periodicals. These are cuts that library users will see.

Source: Imagining Toronto

Over 14,000 items.  My collection has only 500-600 books and still fills over 7 bookshelves and a bunch of boxes. 

Why didn't they close libraries on Wednesdays or Thursdays, or open to private events on Fridays? 

Sunday is considered a day of rest and relaxation, so wouldn't it make sense to close then?

Hopefully the $100 laptop will be released soon, as impoverished Toronto councillors and residents may need them to read books on.  Mayor Miller only makes $144K/year, compared to his Vaugan counterpart Mayor Di Biase at $164K.

$20k can buy a lot of books.  Perhaps Mr. Miller could convince Mr. Di Biase to give him a loan.  Just one weekend of yard saling collecting $1 books for our libraries could get us 20,000 books.

Perhaps this kind of money would be better spent and more appreciated overseas.  A library in Cambodia costs $5-$15k. 

Volunteers needed!

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