TORONTO – With their favourite Canadian books in hand, supporters of Toronto’s public librarians were joined by the Canadian Writers’ Union, author Susan Swan, and other writers outside the Toronto Reference Library this Sunday afternoon, for a read-in and rally with picketing library workers.
Greg Hollingshead, chair of The Writers’ Union of Canada, said the writers support library workers in their struggle to preserve Toronto’s public library system, the busiest in the world. The writers’ union represents over 2,000 Canadian writers.
“A library is not just a space to read but a space to learn, a space to teach, a space to bring children, a space to learn skills, to practice skills, to find a job, to connect with your city and its services,” Hollingshead said. “It’s a place to work on the person you want to be in the city you want to live in.”
“We’re supporting the library workers who help library users find the books and information they need, whether they are doing online research or writing a resume,” said Susan Swan, author of The Wives of Bath, and former Canadian Writers’ Union chair. “The Internet is a wonderful resource but it can’t replace the people who help others use it.”
Toronto library employees have been on strike since March 18 in support of a new contract. The Toronto Public Library Board has demanded concessions from the 2,300 workers, including elimination of a key employment security clause, which would open the door to library closures and further service cuts.
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