Li­braries are barely keep­ing up

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

RE: Skelly takes it on the chin over li­braries (Jan. 25)

In this col­umn An­drew Dreschel “says Donna Skelly’s ques­tion about Hamil­ton Pub­lic Li­brary’s bud­get “was ac­tu­ally more fuzzy than fo­cused,” and that some­times her “in­stincts out­pace her prepa­ra­tion.”

I am im­pressed by co­her­ent, whole-is­sue thought from some of Hamil­ton City Coun­cil’s newer mem­bers. Off 10 months of pub­lic ev­i­dence, Skelly’s of­ten trite, pre­dictable in­co­her­ence ex­cludes her from that group, Dreschel’s de­fence of “con­ser­va­tive coun­cil­lor” Skelly not­with­stand­ing.

In a life­time of us­ing li­braries both aca­demic and pub­lic (and nu­mer­ous ar­chives), I’ve ben­e­fit­ted of­ten from co­her­ent thought by ex­pert staff that’s of­ten helped fo­cus in­quiry and re­search.

Hamil­ton Pub­lic Li­brary’s “ma­chin­ery” of in­quiry can, to­day, barely keep up with daily de­mand. Think about what other pub­lic in­sti­tu­tion di­rectly and regularly en­gages such a large mass of res­i­dents, of all ages, from to­day’s new­com­ers to lif­ers; and what other in­sti­tu­tion is so taken for granted.

In 2012 re­moval of a provin­cial $300,000 grant scup­pered HPL’s Job Dis­cov­ery Cen­tres, serv­ing ca­reer and job-seek­ing cit­i­zens with the whole ar­ray of skills and tech­niques needed — em­pow­er­ing peo­ple who to this day go to branches sur­prised that this ded­i­cated in­struc­tion and as­sis­tance is no longer avail­able. It was. Shea Hoffmitz, Hamil­ton

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