Toronto's librarians need your help and love

Toronto's librarians are considering going on strike, as Mayor Rob Ford continues to make good on his election promise of "outsourcing everything that isn't nailed down." They're looking for your support, in the form of an endorsement for their "Love a Librarian" petition.

The City is pursuing a bargaining agenda to downgrade and reduce library staff and service. Their strategy is to slash service to diminish satisfaction in our public library. They think the public backlash will be smaller when the Toronto Public Library, in whole or in part, is placed on the market for sale. Standing in the wings is the huge American library management firm Library Systems and Services, or LSSI.

Already, LSSI engaged the lobbying services of Paul Christie, a former city politician with close ties to Mayor Ford and at least one of his hand-picked members of the Library Board, to influence debate about the budget for our public library. Christie quietly wined and dined officials extolling the virtues of private ownership of our public library during the budget debate.

This is the same Paul Christie who oversaw the decimation of public school funding under Conservative Premier Ernie Eves. Even though LSSI has concluded its arrangement with Christie for the time being, they are ready to pounce if we give them the opportunity. This would be disastrous for Toronto residents. Every experience involving LSSI in the US and the UK where the company operates has resulted in higher costs, fewer books and less access for library users.

That is why we must strongly oppose the Mayor’s privatization agenda and keep our library public. Working together, I know we can prevail. Please sign the Love a Librarian petition right now, then share it with your networks.

Love a Librarian Petition


  1. Libraries are one of the last bastions we have for free thought and free learning. We cannot allow this precious resource to fall into the hands of private corporations – even just at a management level. Libraries should remain a public resource, available to all, and as neutral as possible. Giving control over to private corporations will inevitably result in higher costs, restricted book purchases etc, as they seek to maximize revenue streams. I hope the citizens of Toronto rightly reject this effort to control yet another aspect of our already highly controlled lives.

  2. It will be perhaps another ten years before libraries are chased from everywhere except universities.   Ten years after that, they’ll be outsourced from universities to make way for more shopping.

    I fail to see why this is so unexpected, given the overwhelming opinion among “smart” people that the only worthy academic subjects are science and engineering and that the entire sum of human knowledge can be found in Wikipedia.

    Librarians don’t fit in the technological future.  They’re too much like English majors, and what the hell do we need with language studies?  We’re all going to be engineers.

    1. This is laughable.  Libraries are community centres for the mind.  They will change substantially but they’re not going away any time soon.

  3. I hope the day never comes when libraries are few and far between. I think in Boston such a proposal could NEVER get anywhere. 

  4. Our mayor and his odious brother would close libraries ‘in a heartbeat’.
    Fortunately, he’s not called a deadbeat for nothing.

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