The Toronto Public Library (Canada’s largest library system) has recently been threatened with cuts. Having already seen one branch take a hit, the city’s library workers and supporters are taking a hard line. In brash awesomeness, they’ve issued a warning to city councillors looking to wield a heavy knife.
The Toronto Public Library Workers Union has a message for city councillors: If you want to keep your seat, support your local libraries.
Results of a survey commissioned by the union and released Wednesday found that half of Toronto residents said it would affect their vote “a great deal” if they knew a candidate had supported closing a library branch.
The survey sends “very clear” message, union president Maureen O’Reilly said. Of more than 1,000 respondents, about three-quarters said they disagreed with closing branches to save money. The library board recently approved a $184 million budget that led to a decision to close the Metro Hall branch. “We have no reason to believe this trend won’t continue,” O’Reilly said, adding that shutting branches adversely affects seniors and kids.[source]
The numbers seem to be in the TPL’s favour:
This message emerges from a Forum Research poll conducted on July 4, 2011 which found that three-quarters of Toronto residents disagree with the idea of closing local library branches as a way of solving the city’s deficit (74%), and more than one half disagree “strongly” (54%). When it is their own local branch which is threatened, the proportion of those who “strongly disagree” increases to two-thirds (64%).
Not only are library branch closures off the table as far as Toronto residents are concerned, more than half disagree with privatizing the delivery of any city services (55%), and more than one third disagree “strongly” (38%). When the Toronto Public Library is mentioned as a privatization target, seven-in-ten Torontonians disagree (71%), more than one half “strongly” (55%).[source]
Hopefully, this sort of information will make the budget hounds think twice.