“With the internet, people are using E-readers — they’re not going to the library to buy a book; they’re getting it online. A lot of libraries that they belong to give them some free e-books as well, so I think that is the the future of libraries across North America,”-Don Morgan, Saskatchewan MLA
Believe it or not, the guy saying the above quote, graduated as a lawyer from an actual law school as opposed to, I don’t know, a cracker jack box. That sound you also hear is the collective banging of library staff heads from the Regina to Saskatoon to Moose Jaw and all corners of Saskatchewan. (Go here for a recap.) Where do I begin to unpack the *dumb?
Perhaps I need to start my to-be-read list from Winnipeg Public Library. I do own a tablet with apps like Overdrive, but I felt like reading without worrying about recharging my tablet. Speaking of my tablet, I can buy one but what about the people who can’t afford one or don’t even want one? Mr Morgan thinks it’s the future of libraries across North America, but it’s about the same as, I don’t know, doing one of those do-it-yourself will kits means no need for lawyers. I can Google Canadian law, right? So, why would I need a lawyer? If we don’t need library staff, then I think we don’t need lawyers. I should run for office on that slogan alone.
Let’s get right to the point, nicely displayed in this GIF:
The people using libraries are not numbers on a ledger. They are not little dollar signs to erase; they are not ‘reading elites’ or ‘lower class’ or anything else some Alberta-based-Rand-Paul wannabe wants to put into itty-bitty boxes. The price of ignorance costs more than the cost of running libraries both in the bottom line and beyond. It’s not left or right wing, it’s the right thing.
However, since businessmen, and it’s mostly dudes let’s face it, love to talk about investment, here’s something they may understand. Libraries are an investment in the kind of employee you want, someone willing to learn, work in a team, has a basic knowledge of technology, persists in finding solutions, and well-rounded. They might have reinvested themselves, showing flexibility in the face of circumstance. If you want diversity, real diversity, not a buzzword, libraries make sure access extends to everyone. From schools to public to academic and beyond, that’s what we in libraries work towards. Each of us contributing to the person standing in front of you in an interview somewhere along the way. Now you want those results with next to nothing to pay staff or fund programs? Good luck.
It’s not secret if Saskatchewan snores, Manitoba will hear it. However, between these cuts and Newfoundland’s attempt at a similar range of cuts, the lesson is clear: Pick on libraries, in any province, and you pick on all of us. Make cuts, and a government lets its feelings known about whose interests they want to appease and who they want to control.
*Fatima’s vernacular: A reference to words or actions coming from a person regardless of education.