TORONTO, Jan. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - More than 120 of Toronto's best known
literary figures have signed an open letter to Mayor Rob Ford and City
Council to express their concern that proposed cuts to the Toronto
Public Library will do grievous harm to one of the leading public
libraries in the world and the people who use it.
The letter is posted on the website www.OurPublicLibrary.to, launched last summer as a protest against Ford administration-planned
library cuts. Within four weeks of its launch, over 50,000 Torontonians
signed the petition on the site, which briefly crashed when Canada's
most celebrated author, Margaret Atwood retweeted a post about the
petition to her more than a quarter million Twitter followers.
In their letter, the authors point out that in the absence of any proper
evaluation of the real costs of cutting our public library, City
Council has no business even considering budget reductions and should
use a small fraction of the City's 2011 budget surplus to avoid
potentially costly blind decisions.
The open letter to Mayor Ford and City Council has been signed by dozens
of internationally recognized and award winning novelists, story
tellers, and literary figures including Atwood, Scotiabank Giller Award
winner Vincent Lam, Linwood Barclay, Susan Swan and Giller Prize
founder Jack Rabinovitch.
"Torontonians love and need their library and do not wish to see it
diminished, and this is yet another sign of that affection and
demonstration of the importance of our public library," said Maureen
O'Reilly, President of the Toronto Public Library Workers Union.
The text of the letter follows:
Dear Mayor Ford and City Councillors:
We are concerned that cuts to the Toronto Public Library will do
grievous harm to one of the leading public libraries in the world and
the people who use it. Please do not support budget proposals that
would limit access to our public library or diminish it in any way.
The Toronto Public Library is so important for so many reasons that we
are surprised and alarmed to know that there has been no evaluation of
the potential costs of gutting library services and programs. Will the
cost of education rise as a result of the cuts? How about the cost of
settling newcomers? Or the economic cost to the city's reputation?
Apparently, we just don't know because no one has produced a credible
case that library cuts will actually save money.
With an expected 2011 surplus of more than $150 million, it is not
necessary to make these cuts blindly.
Proposed library budget cuts represent only a small portion of the
City's available surplus. We have the resources to maintain current
library services throughout 2012 while we conduct a comprehensive,
business-like study of the economic value of Toronto's library system
to the city as a whole. The result will be that in the next budget
cycle we can determine with confidence what, if any, cuts to library
services make sense.
We urge you to support this rational approach to determining the future
of one of the world's great library systems rather than supporting the
current proposals that would blindly hack away at this cherished
Cathy Marie Buchanan
Veronika Martenova Charles
Kristen den Hartog
Sonia Di Placido
Judy Fong Bates
Gale Zoe Garnett
Amy Lavender Harris
Joan Levy Earle
Sharon E. McKay
Bev Katz Rosenbaum
Zoë S. Roy
Emily St. John Mandel
Natalie Zina Walschots
Robert Paul Weston
SOURCE Toronto Public Library Workers Union
For further information:
Jim Thompson 613-447-9592