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