In the Spotlight

THE DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH ABLOG ABOUT LIBRARY CLOSURES

OFFICIAL STATEMENT
May 11th, 2016

The Department of English voices its strong opposition to the Government’s proposed closure of more than half of the province’s public libraries; we express our solidarity with others who are opposed to the proposed closures; and, we invite expressions of solidarity for this position within and beyond the university community.

There are a number of reasons for us to object to the Government’s proposed closures:

1) Libraries provide vital information for the communities in which they are situated.
2) The information—in book form and other formats—is necessary for students’ development at the primary, secondary, and postsecondary levels.
3) Such information is likewise necessary for the development of those who are not pursuing a formal education.
4) Libraries offer more than just information. They provide internet service for those who would not otherwise have it, and meeting space for lectures, events, and social gatherings. Crucially, librarians assist and advise users in finding the resources they require.
5) The proposed closures disproportionately harm those with fewer financial resources than others in the province; these closures would further skew existing inequalities and result in a narrower range of students who would enjoy the benefits of literacy, informed citizenship, and the education that is fundamental to success in many fields of employment.
6) The effects of the closures, which will be immediate and long lasting, are likely to include an increased burden on university instructors to do more remedial work to ensure that certain students have basic competence. Consequently, such students will have a less fulfilling university experience than they would have had with access to public libraries.
7) It is our responsibility as faculty—protected by our tenure system and our union—to maintain our special relationship to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador by speaking up when their (and our) elected representatives make a short-sighted decision that will deprive them of extremely important social, cultural, and educational services.

Dr. Joel Deshaye's blog, Publicly Interested:

http://publiclyinterested.weebly.com/blog/the-dignity-of-the-library

Dr. Danine Farquharson's blog for ACCUTE:

https://accute.ca/2016/05/05/on-the-newfoundland-and-labrador-library-cuts/

Professor Lisa Moore's article in The Walrus:

http://thewalrus.ca/closing-the-book-on-newfoundlands-libraries/

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