Posted by: bluesyemre | May 15, 2018

Our country is facing all kinds of problems and #libraries are working to solve them


Digital Project Leader Saul Perdomo, left, works with local resident Ken Savage while using a free tablet and Wi-Fi hotspot provided by Pickering Public Library’s PPL Connect program. The program provides free laptops and portable internet hot spots to people in the community in need. (J.P. MOCZULSKI / FOR THE TORONTO STAR)

As a friend of mine once noted, if a politician invented the concept of libraries today, they’d be criticized for excessive spending. In fact, when public libraries — that is, any library easily accessed outside of a school or church — were first proposed, they ran up against exactly that kind of resistance. Proponents in England felt that libraries could be used to redirect the working classes of the industrial age away from vice and sloth.

The intent of libraries, then, has always been to serve the public beyond providing people a place to read.

Where other public institutions like some transit systems and universities are inaccessible, it is refreshing to see that so many public libraries have sustained an ethos of public service.

Read more:

Opinion | I am proof libraries are critical to solving cultural poverty

Calgary libraries plan for next chapter with talks of inner-city expansion

Public library’s new movie streaming service Kanopy cites a unique mission

The Ottawa public library system recently announced it would provide 75 free hotspot kits to people who could not otherwise afford internet.

As of last month, for every 15 minutes spent in the Saskatoon library system, outstanding fines are waived in $2.50 increments. Like the Victorians who advocated for public libraries, the Saskatoon library wants more people to engage in literacy and education by spending time in the building. In 2015, the library cleared their entire backlog of payments owed. Similarly, Vancouver’s public library offered a one-week fine amnesty in 2013.

More than providing freebies to those with financial struggles, some libraries are tackling the big challenges of the country.

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