Toronto Council must reject devastating cuts proposed by City Librarian

TORONTO, Oct. 13, 2011 /CNW/ - City Council should reject a sweeping menu of service cuts proposed by Jane Pyper, the chief bureaucrat at the Toronto Public Library, because it will significantly diminish service and undermine what has been widely recognized as one of the best library systems in the world, according to the Toronto Public Library Workers Union (TPLWU).

The proposed cuts, which in 2012 would amount to more than 10% of the TPL's current budget, will be considered on Monday by the Library Board, the majority of whose members were recently hand-picked by Mayor Ford.  Ultimately, the proposed cuts must be accepted or rejected by City Council.  In addition to reduced hours of operation, the proposed 2012 budget cuts would:

  • Slash the collections budget by 11%, which had already been cut in 2011, a measure that will result in fewer copies of library materials, longer wait times, reduced scope and currency of materials and gaps in some collection areas.  Combined, this will have the effect of undermining the TPL's record of success as the most used public library system in the world.
  • Cut 163 frontline librarians and other staff at a cost of up to $6 million, which would dramatically reduce customer service levels
  • Attacks open hours in neighbourhood libraries, which is tantamount to a closure
  • Increase user charges and activity fees
  • Library closings still remain in play in another efficiency report by DPRA Consultants which has yet to be delivered

"Unlike the Chief of Police and the Chief General Manager of the TTC, who have defended the public interest served by their agencies, the Library's chief bureaucrat is doing the Mayor's dirty work, especially by describing these cuts as 'minor service reductions'" said O'Reilly.

"This plan which would have such dire consequences for library users will save residents only 2.5 cents a day. At a time when library usage has never been higher, this plan to cut services makes no sense and would save Torontonians only 2.5 cents a day," said O'Reilly.

"This budget just further exposes the mayor's duplicity during his election campaign when he made promises to Torontonians about no cuts to services or layoffs."

The library budget proposal notes that usage is up substantially during the past decade while staffing has been reduced since 1998 by almost 10%.  Cuts proposed by library bureaucrats for 2012 would reduce frontline staff by a further 9%.

SOURCE Toronto Public Library Workers Union

For further information:

Maureen O'Reilly 647-206-7457

Jim Thompson 613-447-9592

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