Li­braries should be high elec­tion pri­or­ity

Cape Breton Post - - Editorial -

It seems less and less fre­quent that we re­ceive knocks on the door with peo­ple on the other side who want to have face-to-face con­ver­sa­tions. Rare is the op­por­tu­nity to look some­one in the eye rather than through a screen and talk about things that mat­ter.

It’s elec­tion sea­son in Nova Sco­tia, a time when there will be knocks on your door from peo­ple who want to shape your com­mu­nity. These are can­di­dates run­ning to be Mem­bers of the Leg­isla­tive As­sem­bly who will try to di­rect what our province looks like, who will at­tempt to map out our fu­ture, who de­ter­mine our fate.

We in CBRM de­serve the very best. We need to get past the no­tion that be­cause we have our strug­gles we are not wor­thy of things that can in­crease our vi­tal­ity and help us be­come the lead­ers of the coun­try and of the world, like so many Ca­pers now and be­fore us.

Most peo­ple want a healthy com­mu­nity. Health is a broad­rang­ing con­cept, as is the con­cept of lit­er­acy. With the mod­ern age has come an un­der­stand­ing of lit­er­acy as a way of read­ing the world around us. Not just through books, but through many modes of in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

Li­braries are crit­i­cally im­por­tant pieces of healthy com­mu­ni­ties. Our Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity li­brary sys­tem di­rects the health of our mu­nic­i­pal­ity. A vi­brant li­brary sys­tem keeps us thriv­ing and al­lows us to de­velop in ways that are vi­tally im­por­tant to our well-be­ing.

When a com­mu­nity is lit­er­ate and able to in­ter­pret, read, de­ci­pher mes­sages and garner in­for­ma­tion from many me­dia sources, to tell real news from oth­er­wise, and to gain wis­dom of each other, we all win. High rates of lit­er­acy lessen rates of poverty, men­tal health is­sues and ad­dic­tion. When a com­mu­nity’s lit­er­acy is al­lowed to fall into de­cline rest as­sured the cit­i­zenry will suf­fer.

Our CBRM li­braries pro­vide ser­vices, pro­grams, print and elec­tronic ma­te­ri­als, and even snow­shoes and ten­nis rac­quets! For the last eight years, pub­lic li­braries in Nova Sco­tia have re­ceived less than one per cent per year in­creases in their core fund­ing, fund­ing which is dif­fer­ent from grants and one­time in­fu­sions of cash. Li­braries are strug­gling to de­liver and meet the needs of the pop­u­lace.

When can­di­dates in this next pro­vin­cial elec­tion come knock­ing on your door, ask them where the health and lit­er­acy of the residents of CBRM fits on their list of pri­or­i­ties. Ask them what they will do to sup­port the work, pro­grams and de­liv­er­ables of your lo­cal li­brary. The fu­ture of Cape Bre­ton de­pends on it. Neeta Ku­mar-Brit­ten Chair Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Li­brary Board

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