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Alberta Diary: Why libraries – and library users – need their librarians and other library workers to be union members

Maureen O’Reilly, president of the Toronto Public Library Workers Union, speaking in Toronto last weekend. Below: Renowned author Margaret Atwood on an Alberta union picket line, circa 2000, Doug Ford and his Brother Rob.

Doug Ford? Doug Ford? Who is Doug Ford again?

I think he’s Rob Ford’s brother?

OK. Who is Rob Ford?

Didn’t I say back in the summer of 2011 that Margaret Atwood – and, by contrast, we all know who Ms. Atwood is – was the best thing that ever happened to Doug Ford?

Mr. Ford, in case you’ve forgotten already, was the former Toronto (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: One Book

Although it has been many years since I read it, I was very pleased to see that the Toronto Public Library has chosen Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 for its One Book annual community reading event. Although first published in 1953, this eerily prescient novel tells the story of a world where people are globally deterred from thinking by the banning of books, the addictive use of ‘seashells’ that whisper sweet nothings in their ears (read IPods), and the constant diversion of omnipresent large-screen televisions that broadcast the most empty forms of diversion imaginable. Sound familiar?

Without question, Fahrenheit 451 puts

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Politics and its Discontents: Toronto Library Strike

As a lifelong user of public libraries (I can still remember the very first book I took out as a child) and one who aspires to practise critical thinking on a regular basis, I feel for the people of Toronto who are now without this invaluable resource.

Despite the inability of the brothers Ford to appreciate their importance, the central role played by libraries in people’s social and intellectual lives is addressed in a column today by The Star’s Joe Fiorto. I hope you will take a look at it.

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