So across the province the municipal election signs litter the lawns and corners all across the landscape. We as registered voters will gather at predetermined booths and check off who we want to see as the new councilors, mayors and alderman. I believe that it doesn’t matter if your a Communist, Capitalist, Professional, Laborer, Unemployed or on OW……politics matter. Voting matters. If your going to be in the community for more than a short visit (say over a month) your going to be affected by the choices made at the municipal elections.
So what does this have to do with Librarians? Local public libraries are funded by municipalities. As library professionals many of us will be affected by the budgets the municipalities pass and the plans they have for the public library. Being in London, On I emailed as many of the Mayoral candidates as I could and asked what their plans for the library were? Here are their responses:
Thank you for your question. As you may know the city of London provides $18,713,000 in funding to our public library system annually. On Oct. 2, 2014 I had the privilege of being invited by the London Public Library to tour the facilities at the main branch and was provided with a first hand look and overview of all the services they provide at the main branch and across the city. I must say that I was very, very impressed. Therefore with reference to you question as to what my plans for the London Public Library are, I would say that we should continue as is. The London Public Library is a corner stone in the foundation of our London community.
In short, the London’s public library systems are one of the best and most funded in Ontario. I would like to keep it this way, but i need more research on this topic and i would like to get Londoners thoughts, before i make an educated comment.
The library is very important to me on a very personal level, as I am there just about every single day. We put on a writing group for the homeless once per week. I have been told that this is an example of “social programming”. I would be in favour of boosting library funding for more of this type of service, longer hours, including Sundays, and new computer equipment. The library has the potential to serve thousands of people downtown, and at its branches, but it needs a base level of funding to accomplish this.
I have been a long time supporter of the LPL. I had a large part in the rebuilding pf the downtown and fought hard to keep smaller libraries like Carson still open in neighbourhoods. The future investments in the library remain on collections, technology and information resource centres. Having been a former employee of Information London I have a deep appreciation for the importance of libraries now and in the future. I recently established a coop placement program to give MLIS grad students their first job opportunity at the City of London and at LPL
These are the candidates who got back to me, with a wide range of thoughts on the library. I appreciate them responding to my request and allowing me to publish their thoughts. If more candidates get back to me in the following weeks, I will make updates to this post, so keep an eye out and vote as an informed citizen about the issues you care about. Not only regarding libraries, this is just the tip of the iceberg, but look into full platforms and vote for those who make the most sense for you.