Filed under: Book news , budget, design, documentary, donation, Events, film, Libraries, library, magazines, National Post, Protest, Rob Ford, Room, Target, The National Post, Toronto, Toronto Public Library, Toronto Reference Library, Toronto Star, union
As Toronto’s city council enters final debates on the 2012 budget, here’s a look at what could be ahead for the Toronto Public Library.
TPL has been asked to meet a 10 per cent reduction target (cutting about $7 million from its annual budget) despite having the busiest year on record in 2011, with more than 19 million visitors borrowing over 33 million items.
A few motions on the table at city council argue for reversing budget reductions. One motion asks TPL to meet its 10 per cent target without cutting back on hours, instead saving money by buying fewer movies and magazines. Chief librarian Jane Pyper estimates that cutting 19,444 hours at 59 branches could save TPL $5.4 million, but this would likely affect all branches.
Another motion proposes that the $7 million in library cuts be scaled back to $4 million, using new revenue from property tax assessment growth to make up the remainder.
Toronto’s literary community has unleashed protests against proposed cuts, too. More than 100 well-known literary figures signed an open letter to Mayor Rob Ford and city council, and the Toronto Public Library Workers Union placed an ad in the Toronto Star this week.
Meanwhile, TPL continues to search for ways to bring in more money. The National Post reported on one new membership program designed to attract the bookish under-40 set to exclusive library events for a roughly $300 annual fee.
Just this morning, the TPL Foundation announced a $1.5 million donation from Toronto philanthropists Marilyn and Charles Baillie to support the Toronto Reference Library’s revitalization, an ongoing program with a $34 million price tag. The Baillies’ donation will go towards the Special Collections Centre, a new reading room set to open in 2013 that will display items related to Canadiana, performance, and documentary art.
Library cuts are on the agenda for debate this afternoon. Check out the liveblog at Torontoist for the latest updates, and keep following Quillblog for more information.