City Council’s Nasty Secret

Many City Councillors love to point out that Our Public Library is the best and biggest in North America.

That’s true.

But there is something they never mention.

City Council short-changes Our Public Library at every turn.   Rather than nurture it for continued success, Council coasts on the TPL’s impressive performance.

Now, you can help to change all that


Our Public Library is more than books, information and buildings.

The TPL’s dedicated and highly trained staff are the heart and soul of Our Public Library, serving and connecting visitors to the knowledge within.

Rather than nurture this great resource, City Council treats its library workforce with disdain, worse than any other City employees.

For example, half of library staff work part-time with no benefits.  Only 34% of City of Toronto staff are treated this way.

City Council knows part time jobs are precarious jobs that leave workers scrambling to make ends meet.

In fact, the City has just published its Poverty Reduction Strategy calling on Toronto employers to provide full-time jobs with benefits, two things library workers can only dream about.

Thankfully, you can help to right this deliberate neglect.

City Council’s agenda of neglect

Precarious Work in Toronto Public Library: Toronto’s Challenge

City Council’s neglect of Our Public Library regrettably extends to the people who work there. Precarious Work at the Toronto Public Library: Toronto’s Challenge reveals both the dedication to public service and the struggle to make ends meet by the 50 per cent of TPL workers who work in jobs that are part-time, insecure and without the normal benefits, including pensions, of most other City workers.

This informative and emotional short film (19 minutes) features three such library workers, their union president, Maureen O’Reilly, City Councillor and Youth and Equity Advocate Joe Cressy and pioneering McMaster University labour economist Dr. Wayne Lewchuck. A must see for those who care about Our Public Library.

The above video is a specially-commissioned (and sometimes provocative!) animated short film on the Toronto Public Library by James Braithwaite and Josh Raskin, who were nominated for an 2008 Academy Award for their video on a 1969 John Lennon interview by a 14-year-old, I Met the Walrus. The video won a 2009 Emmy Award and a 2010 YouTube/ Guggenheim Award.

Our Public Library is narrated by Toronto’s 2006 Scotiabank Giller Award Winner Dr. Vincent Lam. (4 min),  Vincent Lam’s most recent book, The Headmaster’s Wager, is both a Canadian and International bestseller.

Margaret Atwood’s ongoing defense of our public library is legendary

Her 2011 video was inspiring. 

The photo above is from her pictoral response on BuzzFeed to Twitter posts asking for clarification on what it means to be Canadian. To read the full post, click here.

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