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At a packed library board meeting in Toronto on January 6, community supporters and politicians, along with CUPE Local 4948 president Maureen O’Reilly, made deputations in support of maintaining library services at their current levels and resisting cuts demanded by the administration of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

The number one issue CUPE is concerned about is the chronic understaffing of the Toronto Public Library,” said Sister O’Reilly. “Library staff cuts mean fewer librarians to read stories to the children in our community, fewer library workers to help unemployed residents in their search for work, and less access for people with no other way to access computer technology, and the list goes on.

Presentations were also made by former Toronto Mayor John Sewell and former library board member and city councilor Adam Vaughan, as well as many community supporters.

The outpouring of public support resulted in a compromise budget proposal put forward by city councilor Janet Davis, which would prevent the closure of the Urban Affairs library and minimize staff cuts.

The Library board’s proposed budget must still be approved by City Council, but the level of public support for library services has been encouraging,” said O’Reilly.