Calls for re­spon­sive busi­nesses, help to save li­braries and our planet

The Glengarry News - - Front Page -

The Edi­tor, This let­ter was ad­dressed to the On­tario Om­buds­man Of­fice.

I have just had a tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion with Mr. Rod Sawyer of Pro­gram and Plan­ning for the On­tario Min­istry of Tourism, Cul­ture and Sports, re­gard­ing the is­sue of the im­mi­nent closure of the Dalkeith Li­brary on or be­fore Septem­ber 3.

I com­mend your­self and him­self for re­turn­ing my tele­phone and e-mail re­quests and speak­ing to me. He puts the onus for a re­ver­sal of the Li­brary Board's closure de­cree, on our grass-roots com­mit­tee to vote for new coun­cil mem­bers in two years' time when their man­date has ex­pired. The chair­man of the SD& G Li­brary Board, Mr. Bill McGimpsey, must feel very se­cure these days know­ing that he can­not presently be un­ap­pointed, de­moted or ren­dered voice­less. In fact, he is un­touch­able be­cause of the way the Li­brary Act is writ­ten.

I con­cur with Mr. Sawyer that lo­cal me­dia pres­sure pre­sent­ing the view­points of Dalkeith's res­i­dents and oth­ers who are go­ing to lose their li­braries has made some­what of an im­pact on this is­sue since news of the sit­u­a­tion has spread far and wide. But our grass-roots ef­forts face an up­hill bat­tle. We are bat­tling from the bot­tom up.

We need some­one bat­tling on our be­half, from the top down. I thank you for in­form­ing me that the On­tario Om­buds­man's hands are tied be­cause its' present man­date does not al­low it to in­ter­vene in the Li­brary Board due to pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­tion. How­ever, with­out in­ter­ven­ing, could the On­tario Om­buds­man Of­fice make it pub­licly known that it has been ap­proached by num­bers of con­cerned cit­i­zens and if not for the present pro­vin­cial govern­ment leg­is­la­tion, would step in to at least sort out the facts?

And the most ba­sic facts are that the en­tire year 2016 Li­brary bud­get was ap­proved based on 18 phys­i­cal en­ti­ties, that is, li­brary branches in the SD&G town­ships. Since the Dalkeith, St. An­drews and More­wood li­brary branches are slated to be closed on or be­fore Septem­ber 3, the bud­get will in ef­fect be pro­vid­ing for 15 re­main­ing branches with one-third of the 2016 year still left. Any way that one looks at it, one has to ask, is the Li­brary Board act­ing in a rea­son­able fi­nan­cial man­ner?

Putting the bud­get aside and look­ing at the rai­son d'être of de­liv­er­ing li­brary ser­vices to out­ly­ing pop­u­la­tions as be­ing one of the cor­ner­stones of why li­braries ex­ist in the first place, surely some­one in high govern­ment cir­cles could and should re­mind the Li­brary Board and its chair­per­son, of its pub­lic duty to pro­vide ed­u­ca­tion and en­rich­ment re­sources to card-car­ry­ing li­brary users.

Jerry Bo­roff, Dalkeith

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