#SaveOurLibraries : resisting Ford's ignorant cuts

by Roxanne Dubois last modified 2019-05-03T08:59:32-04:00
It was just a question of time before the Ford government went after libraries. Of all the things that are going on in Ontario, it is so sad that we have to take up the fight to defend local library services.

The funding cut came in the provincial budget a few weeks back. "The Southern Ontario Library Service says it's facing a 50% budget cut from the province, which would need to be absorbed into the current 2019-20 fiscal year."

"The northern and southern library services supports public libraries in a number of ways, from running the interlibrary loan and delivery program to offering training for library staff and volunteers."

Thankfully, many have been speaking out, including library workers and librarians who see every day the role libraries play in people's lives.

  • From Thunder Bay :"It's a smokescreen for an all-out assault on the public sector. Public libraries are the soft underbelly of that, the low hanging fruit, but what it's going to find is that we're going to fight back and we're going to fight back very strongly and very effectively because our communities love us. He's tinkering with the wrong people."
  • From Dryden: "The way we use inter-library loans at our library is really to help supplement our collection, and one of the No. 1 things that we order by inter-library loan is large-print material."
  • From Carleton Place: "Without SOLS, we wouldn't be able to afford e-book services," said Caswell. "It means to me that this government doesn't value small, rural libraries."
  • From Sudbury: "Our members' livelihoods are being destroyed – vital services that remote, rural and Indigenous communities depend on are disappearing, and responsibility lies solely with Doug Ford and the rest of the government currently occupying Queen's Park. I call on Northerners to make their voices heard in their communities, in the MPPs' constituency offices and in the streets,"

As Edward Keenan put it: "A person who doesn’t understand public libraries doesn’t understand community, and doesn’t understand civilization. Libraries are pillars of both."

If you think we're done with books, and therefore we don't need libraries, you're wrong. If you think libraries are only about books, you're also wrong. Libraries serve multiples purposes in every community where they operate.

Libraries have been time and time again defended against cuts, closures, and political attacks from politicians who do not understand or value the importance of libraries to urban and rural communities.

Funding cuts to libraries are motivated by ignorance, by a political agenda looking for an easy way to save money. Doug Ford doesn't want the people of Ontario to have access to the knowledge he doesn't have himself. We won't stand for it.

An older post that is still relevant: "As an accessible space [...] the library stands out as a public institution that actually makes our communities better places by caring for its most vulnerable members.

I'm so thankful for those who have taken up this fight: community activists, library workers: you are my heroes. On May Day and every day, I will always continue to fight to Save Our Libraries.

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