Congratulations to all Torontonians!

After months of campaigning and an amazing outpouring of support, City Council voted last night to spare our public library from the full brunt of Mayor Ford’s agenda to cut our cherished library.

As a result, branches will remain open, hours of operation will not be cut and important library programs will remain intact. Sadly, howevere, the 2012 library budget will be cut based on the City Librarian’s earlier recommendation to eliminate 107 staff and reduce the collection budget which represents a loss of 106,000 new items per year.

What a rollercoaster of a ride! As late as last week, the Budget Committee lead by Councillor Mike Del Grande was still pushing for the full 10% cut to the library budget. Two days later the Executive Committee demanded a 8% cut on the library budget with the provision that no cuts be made to library open hours. Tonight, we saw the Ford administration austerity agenda take a major hit as many cuts were reversed. Councillor Raymond Cho presented a motion to prevent further cuts to the library budget. In a nail biter of a vote, Councillor Cho’s motion prevailed with a 22 to 21 majority.

Torontonians’ plea to protect their beloved library system was finally answered. Mayor Ford’s attack on the library was irrational as it is one of the most efficient and most popular services in the city.

Library Board Chair Councillor Paul Ainslie and Councillors Palacio and Robinson, who all sit on Ford’s Executive Committee, voted against voted for deeper cuts to the library budget last night, completely reversing their previous opposition to deeper cuts.

Mayor Rob Ford and councillors Ford, Milczyn, Crisanti, Crawford, Mammolitti, Minnan-Wong, Nunziata, Parker, DiGiorgio, Palacio, Ainslie, Robinson, Stintz, Berardinetti, Grimes, Del Grande, Shiner, Kelly, Holyday and Thompson all vote against Councillor Cho’s motion to protect the library service.