The Nelson Library is much more than just books.

Cutting to the chase when it comes to the Nelson Library

“Cutting libraries in a recession is like cutting hospitals in a plague.”

Last week a poster appeared on one of our library walls. I suspect a librarian; we’re a subversive bunch (just ask Michael Moore), and I wouldn’t put it past any of us. The poster sports a quote by UBC librarian Eleanor Crumblehulme, based on a tweet she sent last year to author Neil Gaiman.

“Cutting libraries in a recession is like cutting hospitals in a plague.”

A look online shows the sentiment is widely shared; it turns up on blogs and websites and been tweeted across the continent. The posts, comments, and essays it has sparked are enlightening. Look it up for yourself on your library’s public access computer. That is, unless it’s been cut.

The Internet has opened up the world. And no, it’s not a threat to libraries; the web enhances what we do; it enables, it informs, and yes, it entertains. Libraries have embraced the World Wide Web for what it can offer library users, and librarians make great guides.

When you want to find a job, learn about a medical condition, get homework help, find the right government program or find out how to navigate the legal system, your library is your one-stop-shop. Yes, of course we have books. We also have the whole world at your fingertips.

Or at least, we should. British Columbia is being hit with a $515,000 cut in funding to 135 Community Access Program (CAP) sites in libraries across the province.

CAP sites offer free Internet access to anyone who needs it, especially those who don’t have home access to a computer or to the Internet. Seniors, rural residents without high speed Internet, low income families, tourists, seasonal workers, and youth are particularly affected by CAP funding cuts.

The library has one CAP computer — always there, always free — in addition to eight other stations which are free for cardholders and available for a nominal fee to non-cardholders, fees that help us pay for maintenance. Running a bank of public computers comes with a hefty price tag.

Losing CAP computers will force libraries to re-allocate funds to keep the service so many rely upon. Some libraries will pull from book budgets, maintenance budgets, or even staff budgets in order to offer an essential service to those who need it most.

We are in tough times, and as jobs become harder to find, as food and shelter costs rise, people more than ever need access to job banks, health information and housing opportunities. As legal, social, and employment assistance programs lose their frontline workers in favour of online services, what happens when you cut that access, too?

And if the plague comes? Better have access to those online prevention tips.

To keep the CAP program going across Canada — helping people to help themselves — will cost every Canadian just 42 cents a year. The BC Library Association is urging the federal government to re-examine its decision. You can find out more at savecap.ca.

To do that, of course, means accessing a computer. The Nelson Library’s CAP computer is still available, with helpful — and possibly subversive — librarians ever at the ready.

So what did controversial filmmaker Michael Moore say?

“I really didn’t realize the librarians were, you know, such a dangerous group. They are subversive. You think they’re just sitting there at the desk, all quiet and everything. They’re like plotting the revolution, man. I wouldn’t mess with them. You know, they’ve had their budgets cut.”

Indeed.

 

Anne DeGrace’s library column is featured every second Friday in the Star.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Leafs stretch winning streak to 8 games

Nelson downed Grand Forks 5-2 on Friday

RDCK moves ahead with Castlegar rec complex upgrade plan

Board approves grant application for $13 million from provincial, federal governments

Cottonwood Lake preservation group surpasses $50,000 fundraising goal

In 28 days, 393 donors have contributed to the fund

Last of southern Selkirk caribou relocated to Revelstoke area

One cow from the South Selkirk herd and two from the Purcells were moved this week

Scammers using Castlegar home for rental fraud

Local realtors say the problem is happening more frequently with their properties

Self serve doggy-wash poised to change dog grooming industry

Add money, start spraying to wash dog in the K9000

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

Most Read