By Laurie Sommerfeld, Toronto Star, May 30, 2011
Tight economic times have restricted access to public libraries, threatening not just the hours but the very institutions. Any society that views itself as democratic and just must surely understand that you erect barriers to knowledge at the expense of its most vulnerable citizens. Libraries are not houses for books; they are town squares for knowledge. Librarians are not traffic cops between fiction and non-fiction; they are guides between centuries, countries and technologies.
The recent decision by the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board to do away with that system’s school libraries is mind boggling. The bedrock of a civilized society is now a frill? Is access to this, this fundamental democratic asset, to be once again returned to only those with private resources?
We risk more than becoming people we won’t recognize; we risk becoming people we won’t remember.
The Philistines are not "coming!" They have arrived among the politically-economically motivated people making decisions like the one by the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board.
And, of course, we all know they should know better. But they don't, and they won't revisit the decision becuase of the numbers.
There are few books being signed out; there are few books being read; even educators are touting the use of "user manuals" as teasers to try to get boys to read at all.
The tsunami of devastation that is making such decisions will rank as among the most tragic in the history of western education, in a very few years.