When politicians with a mandate to make cuts cast their eyes on libraries, we need to rise up and shout. Why? Because far from being stacks of dusty books with people reading quietly within, libraries have evolved into what some call “knowledge hubs” or “learning commons.”
As in, they offer free Wi-Fi, courses and activities for toddlers to seniors, reading clubs, public lectures, mentoring programs, researchers, sometimes even lattes, and above all, places where people of different backgrounds and beliefs can meet and grow through lively discussions.
Libraries have evolved. The public’s (and politicians’) view of them hasn’t necessarily done so.
Note a government decision recently to close nearly half the public libraries in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.
No! Stop this train before it gains momentum!
“When we close our libraries, we threaten to unravel the very fabric that binds members of our communities together,” writes one academic (Jessica Riddell, associate professor of English at Bishop’s University in Quebec, Canada; Globe & Mail, May 9, 2016, p. A11).
P.S. I am giving three author presentations at public libraries Friday and Tuesday: Hillcrest in Toronto and Greenboro in Ottawa. See you there!
P.S.S. The stunning library in the photo above? Oberlausitzische Bibliothek der Wissenschaften, Gorlitz, Germany.