Before voting on library cuts, all Councillors should listen to their constituents

TORONTO, Nov. 3, 2011 /CNW/ - The offer to organize public consultations with their constituents about cuts to the Toronto Public Library has been taken up by a shamefully small number of City Councillors, according to the Toronto Public Library Workers Union.

Only 9 of the City's 44 representatives on Council have scheduled public meetings in their wards as part of the city-wide consultation sponsored by the Toronto Public Library.

"We're disappointed that only a handful of Councillors seem to be interested in hearing from their constituents about one of the best used and most loved services provided by the City.  Before the vote on the Toronto Public Library budget, all Councillors should create a forum where they can hear directly from their constituents about this important issue," said TPLWU President Maureen O'Reilly.

Only two of the five Councillors on the Toronto Public Library Board are currently scheduled to attend consultations about the Toronto Public Library in their wards.  And, not a single member of Mayor Ford's hand-picked Executive Committee is participating.

"Why are members like Councillors Robinson and Palacio, who are members of both the Library Board and the Executive Committee, not offering their constituents a chance to be heard about our public library?  I would have thought that the chair of the Budget Committee, Mike Del Grande would have been interested in his constituents' opinions," O'Reilly asked.

Over the past 48 hours thousands of Torontonians have urged the Toronto Public Library Board to reject cuts to our public library, including those endorsed at the first meeting of the Board since its membership was overhauled with Mayor Ford's appointees.  On October 21st, the Board endorsed a proposal to cut 100 librarians and library staff even though staffing has already been cut by 10 percent while usage over the last decade has gone up by 29 percent.

In an apparent change of heart, the influential Budget Committee of the Library Board voted earlier this week to reject branch closures and huge cuts to hours of operation of neighbourhood branches, proposals made to achieve the 10% cuts to the Library's budget demanded by Mayor Ford.

"The members of the Budget Committee, including Councillor Ainslie, are to be congratulated.  Obviously, they have listened and responded to Toronto residents who do not want to see their public library system diminished in any way," O'Reilly said.

SOURCE Toronto Public Library Workers Union

For further information:

Jim Thompson 613-447-9592

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