Toronto Public Library Board to Reopen Branches on Sundays



    TORONTO, Oct. 15 /CNW/ - At this evening's Toronto Public Library Board
meeting, the Board decided the 16 library branches that were closed on Sundays
will reopen effective October 28, subject to dialogue with Union
representatives to discuss implementation details. The branches were closed on
Sundays in response to the City of Toronto's request to generate savings to be
put toward its 2008 operating budget shortfall.
    Earlier today, the Toronto Public Library Board stated it was recently
notified that a grievance filed by the Toronto Civic Employees' Union Local
416 CUPE was ruled in favour of the Union. The Union grieved that the
reduction in Sunday service hours, approved by the Toronto Public Library
Board at a special meeting on July 25, 2007 in response to the City's request
for cost containment, violated the Collective Agreement.
    When the Library Board included the Sunday service reduction in its cost
containment measures, it did so with the understanding that the service could
be reduced without violating the Collective Agreement. The Library's legal
counsel advised that the reduction in Sunday hours was in compliance with the
Collective Agreement and supported by case law.
    "We are pleased that all 27 branches that normally offer Sunday service
will be open to the public," said Kathy Gallagher Ross, Chair of the Toronto
Public Library Board. "We recently held public meetings on the 2008 operating
budget and heard loud and clear how much Torontonians value their library
service and how important it is to have open, accessible branches."

    Cost Containment at Toronto Public Library

    In response to the cost containment measures requested by the City of
Toronto late in 2007, the Toronto Public Library Board was asked to consider a
number of cost containment measures that would reduce the Board's operating
budget spending for the balance of 2007.
    On July 25, 2007 the Board announced it would implement the following
cost containment measures:

    
    -   Cancellation of fall/winter 2007 Sunday service at 16 of 27 Sunday
        service branch locations, with the remaining branches that serve the
        City's priority neighbourhood areas being left open
    -   $330,000 reduction in library materials budget
    -   A hiring freeze that will result in service reductions; namely, the
        delayed opening of the Jane/Dundas branch (currently scheduled for
        September 2007, will be delayed into 2008); discontinuation of
        alternate services during renovation-related branch closures across
        the city; and possible intermittent disruption to branch services and
        programs
    -   Deferral of select library programs
    -   Elimination of discretionary spending
    

    The Library Board received the full arbitration award late this
afternoon, and has referred its review to the Library Board's Employee and
Labour Relations Committee. The Library Board will be in a position to comment
on the financial impact of the arbitration award following this review and
discussion with the Union.

    Toronto Public Library is the world's busiest urban public library
system. Every year, more than 17 million people visit our 99 branches and
borrow more than 30 million items. To learn more about Toronto Public Library,
visit our website at www.torontopubliclibrary.ca or call Answerline at
416-393-7131.




For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Ana-Maria Critchley, (416)
393-7201, amcritchley@torontopubliclibrary.ca


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