From: Darren D. MacDonald, thenorthbaybay.ca
OTTAWA – The Ford Government has cut into libraries across the province by slashing their funding through Ontario Library Service by 50%. The results are libraries discontinuing their interlibrary loan services, reducing training for employees and patrons, and in many cases, the removal of library programs and resources.
The cuts are perhaps felt the hardest in northern communities. With 121 public libraries across northern townships, cities, and First Nation communities, Ontario Library Service libraries serve 88 percent of Ontario’s total land mass.
The cuts have been met with outrage and protest from libraries and their communities.
“We have seen the backlash, and we have discussed solutions,” says Ontaro Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli. “We mulled over making more gradual cuts. We mulled over giving libraries tax breaks like we might a large, Conservative-supporting corporation. We even mulled over just not making cuts at all.”
Book and a Beer
“But the idea that we all really liked was putting beer in libraries,” smiles Fedeli. “It’s fresh, it’s innovative, and we figure we’re already going to be penalized hundreds of millions of dollars due to breaching a contract made between the former Liberal government, The Beer Store, and a handful of big brewers for putting beer into corner stores, so why not libraries while we are at it?”
“That said, I’m very happy to announce the new ‘Book and a Beer’ Campaign!”
The Ford Government has already championed their failed Buck-a-Beer, beer in corner stores, and beer in parking lots crusades, so “it’s completely on brand to for this government to want to put beer in libraries, too” says Fedeli.
But not everyone is happy about having a yeasty treat in the stacks of a library.
“I think Ford needs to grow up and realize that there is more to life than beer and tailgate parties,” says North Bay librarian Jack Bradey. “We need to create an environment that encourages youth and adults alike to learn and grow and take part in everything libraries have to offer.”
“I think it’s a bad idea,” says fellow librarian Wanda Hayworth. “No one has ever been 5 beers in and thought: ‘Let’s read To Kill A Mockingbird and discuss what we have learned.’”
“It just doesn’t happen.”
Sides are clearly divided about the situation, but one thing can be certain; the Ford Government doesn’t care about the “Fearmongering” concerns of anyone opposing their opinion.
“It doesn’t matter to us,” says Fedeli. “Everyone who says anything against us is fearmongering. These librarians? Fearmongers.”
“You know who else was fearmongering? The sailors in Moby Dick. They kept telling Ahab not to go after that whale. But they were wrong! Ahab got that whale in the end, and lived happily ever after.”
“I think. That’s how Moby Dick ends, right?”