I had no idea when I woke up today that midway through the morning I'd be so outraged that I can hardly focus on work. But then I read this CBC News story about the Newfoundland government closing more than half of the province's public libraries.
I get that they are facing tough economic times because of their dependence on oil. I get that some tough decisions needed to be made. I even agreed with some of those decisions. But then I read about their tax on books (the first province to do so) and now libraries?
I'm at a loss. The province with the lowest literacy rates attacks literacy? How does that make sense? Make the books too expensive to buy and then make them inaccessible from libraries. In the article, it is stated that 85% of residents will still be within 30 minutes of a library. Even if we ignore the 15% who won't be, a 30 minute drive in a province with very little public transportation beyond the few major centers, is depriving the very ones who need access to libraries the most.
It is a war on literacy and as such, a war on the poor. We know that literacy is able to get people out of poverty and if the government is going to deny people that opportunity now, they'll just have to pay for it later.
I am from Newfoundland, so I obviously care deeply, but even if you are not I hope you are equally outraged because other short-sighted governments will follow suit. Mark my words.
Please, please, please loudly voice your displeasure. Here or elsewhere.