Staffless Libraries: A Bad Idea. Reason #12: No Library Programs

The Toronto Public Library offers more than 42,000 programs; designed and facilitated by library workers

More than 950,000 patrons attend these programs; a 40% increase since 2008.

The Todmorden Room and Swansea Memorial branches, the two branches converted to Staffless Libraries, offer no programs.

After all, if there are no library workers who’re going to run the programs?

Library workers think this is a waste. Space is available. The library is paying rent and utilities to keep these branches open. Doesn’t it make sense to have them staffed so they can be more useful to the community?

Do you think the Todmorden Room and Swansea Memorial branches should be fully staffed and offer programs?

Instead of cutting back on programs, we should be increasing them. 

If you have a moment, please take a look at these short, animated videos we have produced about the folly and danger of staffless libraries. These are just the first of many to come. Please share them widely and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Without library workers, a library just isn’t a library.

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They’re here. Staffless Libraries are now in Toronto. And they are a Bad Idea.

Library Workers are concerned. You should be too.

Staffless Libraries are:

  1. A threat to Public Safety.
  2. A two-tiered library system.
  3. A threat to local jobs.

Why was the Public not consulted?

It’s Your Public Library. Click here to contact the Mayor, your City Councillor and the Toronto Public Library Board to share your concern.

Thanks to you, supporters of our public library, awareness of Staffless Libraries is on the rise. Below is a short piece by City News.

Mayor Tory, why?

TPL makes Toronto smarter: Board of Trade

The Toronto Board of Trade got it right when its Smart Cities initiative identified Our Public Library as a key asset that makes Toronto “smarter”. According the Board:

“What makes the Toronto Public Library one of Toronto’s smartest assets is that it promotes access to literacy, learning and knowledge.”

Why, then, does Mayor Tory want to cut funding to Our Public Library?

Before his election Mayor John Tory mused about cutting Our Public Library by 10%. Unless we act now, his vision will be in place with the proposed City budget for next year.

Read more to find out how you can help stop his plan in its tracks...

The proposed 2017 Budget for the City of Toronto is a throw back to the days of Rob Ford.  Not since the former Mayor’s first assault on Our Public Library in 2011 has there been a proposal to cut funding for Our Public Library so deeply.   Under the direction of Mayor John Tory, City staff are proposing to cut Our Public Library by as much as 5.1% in next year’s budget! This will damage this wonderful institution. It will mean fewer books and less access.  It will diminish our City, community by community. On top of these proposed cuts Council's has allowed the budget for Our Public Library to shrink by almost 5% since 2010 after taking the corrosive effects of inflation into account. Unless we act to stop, John Tory will achieve his vision for cutting OPL by 10%, and all of us who value Our Public Library will be poorer Please take action now!

It’s time to re-invest in Our Public Library

7-year old Lucy talks about the economic impact of Our Public Library

8-year old Beatrice translates what Tory’s 2.6% cut could actually mean to Our Public Library.

10-year old Shahrzad talks about the need for properly funded library system.

Our Public Library is an institution that the vast majority of us want supported, not slashed.

A new Forum Research poll found 77% of Torontonians think Our Public Library is extremely or very important to the community and 78% think that it is extremely or very important to invest in Our Public Library.

It is time to stop the cuts and reinvest, starting with $10 million this year, an amount equal to just one percent of the Toronto Police Services budget.

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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Precarious Work in Toronto Public Library: Toronto’s Challenge

Film on Precarious Work:

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.