TORONTO, Nov. 16, 2011 /CNW/ - Despite voting at their October meeting
to conduct public consultations during November on the 2012 library
budget, virtually none of the eight newly-appointed "citizen members"
of the Toronto Public Library Board has attended any of the nine
meetings held so far around the city. The purpose of the meetings is to
hear directly from Torontonians how they feel about the Board's planned
service and staff cuts. All of the meetings have been held in the early
evening except for two that were held last Sunday afternoon.
As well, Board Chair Councillor Paul Ainslie and Board members
Councillor Jaye Robinson and Councillor Cesar Palacio have failed to
show any interest in what residents have to say about the future of
Toronto's library system. All of them are on Mayor Ford's hand-picked
Executive Committee. Not only did they not show up for any of the
scheduled public consultations, Ainslie, Robinson and Palacio did not
even request public consultations in their own wards, unlike fellow
councillor Board members Janet Davis and Sarah Doucette.
"Clearly these Ford appointees are not at all interested in public
opinion on the library system they have been appointed to oversee,"
said Maureen O'Reilly, President of the Toronto Public Library Workers
Union. "And Councillor Ainslie's disinterest and lack of leadership is
a bad sign that one of the world's great library systems is going to be
allowed to deteriorate."
"It is a shocking show of disrespect for taxpayers." added O'Reilly.
"Either that or these Board members are simply afraid to face the
public after they voted to cut over 100 positions from an already
overwhelmed library staff and also cut 27 per cent from the materials
acquisitions budget, ensuring that the library collection will go
In a related development, the library union's "Flying Squad" of
information picketers will be dashing around the city on Wednesday,
Thursday and Friday to hold brief demonstrations in front of library
branches where City Librarian Jane Pyper has recommended cutting hours.
"Library patrons have to be told that the person charged with
administering their system wants to cut access to libraries by nearly
20,000 hours annually," said O'Reilly.
"It is scandalous that the doors to our libraries will be locked at
times when most people can visit them, all in order to save taxpayers
less than two cents per day. Mayor Ford and his gang are going way, way
too far. This madness has to stop."
SOURCE Toronto Public Library Workers Union
For further information:
Maureen O'Reilly, 647.206.7457