Emily sez, "Toronto's new Mayor Rob Ford is 'outsourcing everything that isn't nailed down.' Taking advice from KPMG, a private consulting firm, all social services are at threat including: public libraries, the Riverdale Farm zoo, the High Park zoo, and so much more that makes Toronto a great city. Bike lanes have already been scheduled for costly removal, for his goal of making downtown more accessible to cars, and it looks like this is just the beginning. He wants to privatize everything and turn us into MacDonald's-town."
How could a private company make a profit running a free service that is funded by taxpayers?The Toronto Public Library and its local branches are under threat. (Thanks, Emily!)
The mandate of the private operator would be to reduce the level of public funding that now supports our libraries. At the same time, they need to make a profit. There is an inevitable conflict here which signals bad news for all library users, from children to seniors. First, local branches of the Toronto Public Library would almost certainly be closed. Library users would see higher user fees, fewer books and less access to the information and other vital services our public libraries offer for little or no cost as hours of operation are limited. The cuts to library staff that have been going on for years will be accelerated.
It's also bad news for our city. We would lose a powerful educational and cultural force that opens books and opens minds, taking from Toronto a public service that all other great cities jealously guard.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.