The Toronto Library Board appointed by the disgraced former mayor Rob Ford has continued its programme of cutting library budgets, cutting way past the bone and threatening the Toronto public library system altogether.
I was raised in Toronto's public libraries, from the Fairview Branch where I checked out picture books as a child to the North York Central Branch where I worked as a page to the Metro Reference Branch where I ran away to when I dropped out of high-school in grade nine, to the Merril Collection, where Judith Merril, the writer in residence, mentored me as a young writer.
Libraries are even more vital in the information age, especially as the gap between the rich and poor yawns ever-wider. The Library Board is unfit for purpose.
After years of suffering the corrosive effects of inflation, Library service has already been cut to the bone.
And yet the Library Board, appointed during former Mayor Rob Ford's term, has voted to undermine our public library again.
Our City Librarian minced no words when she wrote to the Board just a few weeks ago:
"The recommended 2015 budget is a reasonable and responsible funding request necessary to maintain existing services… the cumulative budget increase over the last four years is … 86% below the rate of inflation."
In spite of this cautionary note, the outgoing Library Board actually voted to reject this hold-the-line-on-services proposal for 2015. Instead they opted for further cuts to our public library.