Thursday, April 27, 2017

Saskatoon StarPhoenix: It's Time to Get Rid of Our Libraries

It's time to get rid of our libraries
by Cam Fuller
April 1, 2017

Funding was cut to libraries in the 2017-2018 provincial budget. Seven regional systems lost more than half their funding while Regina and Saskatoon lost all of it.

Why does the government want to defund libraries? Maybe it doesn’t like people reading or doing research or having public meetings. Maybe the end-game is to get rid of libraries entirely. Assuming this is the case, here are six perfectly reasonable reasons for getting rid of our libraries once and for all.

1. The business model is flawed. The last time I checked, it didn’t cost anything to take a book out of the library. Nor is there a membership fee. They don’t even charge admission. And why can’t you find a Tim Horton’s in them? It’s no wonder the government is forced to keep pouring money into libraries. It’s like trying to fill a bucket with a hole in the bottom. If McDonald’s didn’t charge for its burgers, it would have gone out of business a long time ago. Without handouts, libraries would cease to exist. Let’s work toward that goal.

2. Unsavoury people hang out there. You’ve seen them browsing through the periodicals. This occurs in the middle of the day when the rest of us are at work. Why are your tax dollars paying somebody to read back issues of National Geographic? These people, who probably don’t even vote, should be put to work, maybe cleaning up abandoned oil wells in Estevan or constituency offices in Swift Current. Let me tell you, once you get a hard day’s work out of these non-voters, they won’t have the energy to read. Which is good, because there won’t be anywhere to do it.

3. Books are heavy. Try picking up a box full of books. Especially hard covers. Especially hard covers with glossy pages. They weigh, like, a ton. It takes a lot of sturdy shelving to store them. Sturdy shelves are expensive. Ask Ikea. Then people check them out (for free!), lug them home on the bus, adding all that weight, lowering fuel mileage, increasing pollution and contributing to climate change. And when these horribly heavy books come back, they have to be restacked. That’s a lot of wear and tear on library workers. Imagine the repetitive stress injuries. Imagine the paper cuts. And what if something like a dictionary fell off a high shelf and hit a library worker on the head? We simply can’t keep forcing people to labour under these dangerous conditions.

4. You can get books anywhere. The world is full of books. I personally have a bunch on Ikea shelving and I never read them, they just sit there. You can have mine if you want. And garage sales. If you really need a book, you don’t have to go to the library. You can get the entire Zane Grey collection at a garage sale for about 10 cents. And if you hang out in hipster neighbourhoods, you’ll see wooden boxes on people’s front yards that contain books for you to borrow for free (again, nice economic model, genius!). Books are everywhere. You can’t swing a cat without hitting a book. You can’t swing a book without hitting a cat. Imagine hitting a cat with The Cat Came Back. That would be hilarious. Where am I going with this? Even I don’t know.

5. Go Dog Go. Now that’s a good book. Why not buy it on Amazon and keep the economy going rather that propping up a tax-sucking library?

6. Librarians are kind of creepy. They’ve mastered the Dewey Decimal System. They know where everything is. And they never raise their voices. And they’re friendly and helpful. They don’t think your questions are stupid. They encourage you to read books so you can readily identify satire and become a well-informed citizen. Librarians, in other words, are up to something. I’m not sure what, but it can’t be good. Let’s stop them while we have a chance.

Source: Saskatoon StarPhoenix

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