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May. 26, 2019 | Sunday
Editorials and Opinions
Opinion: Stand up for libraries. And education. And public health. And ...
NOTL Public Library. (Brittany Carter/Niagara Now)

I don’t use the public library.

My shelves are sagging from the weight of the unread books I’ve been meaning to get to.

I don’t need the public library.

Our kids are grown, so we don’t turn to the library any more as a source for challenging, fascinating reading.

I don’t rely on the public library.

My library card has long-ago vanished. No idea where it is.

I only rarely visit the public library, but I appreciate and understand the important role that libraries play in our society.

Just because I don’t use the library now doesn’t mean thousands of others won’t do so every day.

Just because I don’t need the library’s services now doesn’t mean I won’t tomorrow or next week or next year.

Just because I don’t rely on the library doesn’t mean it’s not an important lifeline for other members of the community.

Could someone please tell Premier Doug Ford?

Slashing the operating budgets by 50 per cent of the provincewide services that arrange inter-library loans of books seems a cynical and nasty way to save what in the grand scheme amounts to a few dollars.

Yes, I understand, we have to live within our means. An admirable sentiment. And with all the corporate and other revenue reductions the province has instituted, someone has to pay the price.

When Ford was a Toronto city councillor a few years ago, he was ridiculed by some left-leaning elitists (and they were, indeed, “elites”) for saying he wouldn’t hesitate to close “liberries” if necessary. And while he’s not yet shutting libraries, he is clearly showing his antipathy and disregard for those who read, need or write books.

I think what bothers me most about this move by Ford’s government is that it seems so petty and unnecessary.

I’m really hoping for a grassroots groundswell of people telling their MPPs that the province needs to stop picking on libraries. And education. And flood management. And public health.

Maybe librarians and library lovers will be the ones to lead the way.

Meanwhile, I think I need to use the public library more. We all should.

Join the petition: A provincewide online petition has been launched urging the government to rescind its cuts to library services. Find the petition here.

Condolences: The NOTL community was shocked this week by news of the death of Stefanie Sherk. Heartfelt condolences to her parents Sue and Rick Sherk. Stefanie, an accomplished actor and writer, died of an aneurysm Saturday at age 43 at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Centre in Los Angeles. 

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