Freedom to read isn’t always for free
Government considering cutting funding for Internet at libraries
(www.bookandperiodicalcouncil.c a) with events all across Canada from Feb. 21-27 (but no local events I could find).
The website has a list of books “challenged” at various schools and libraries for the usual reasons: sex, violence, and unpopular ideas. It is reassuring that this kind of censorship does not go unchallenged.
And then our provincial government announced it was considering cutting off funding to libraries for Internet access.
The Cape Breton Regional Library would have to find $41,904 to keep its service going.
Public access computers provide valuable access for students, job-seekers (preparing resumes), supports tourism, and is often the sole access point for lower income residents.
At CBRL, in 2008-09 public access computers were used a total of 45,390 hours (1,891.25 days.) and wireless Internet access was used 7,694 hours.
Choosing between Internet and other library services is as big a challenge to the free exchange of ideas as any list of banned books.
The premier recently read a book of Homer’s Odyssey at a fundraising event in Halifax for a program to bring humanities education to people living below the poverty line.
Maybe he and any MLA who votes for the cutbacks can tour every library in the province and read at similar fundraising events.