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Tim Hortons vs. Toronto Public Libraries mashup

Posted by Derek Flack / July 20, 2011

Tim Hortons Toronto Public LibrariesDoug Ford's recent remarks regarding Toronto Public Libraries have already become notorious. Speaking on Newstalk 1010 about a week ago, the Ward 2 Councillor claimed that "We have more libraries per person than any other city in the world. I've got more libraries in my area than I have Tim Hortons." A few days later, Our Public Library, a website created to campaign against the privatization of TPL branches, thankfully set the record straight.

"When the Urban Affairs branch closes, Toronto will have 3.9 libraries per 100,000 people, which is what Vancouver has. Halifax has 4.3 libraries per 100,000 people, more than Toronto. In the U.S., the entire state of Vermont, which has only one-quarter of the population of Toronto, has 30 libraries per 100,000 people, which is 7.5 times the library density of Toronto," read a post by Maureen O'Reilly dated yesterday.

"In Etobicoke (Mr. Ford's area), there are 13 library branches there, and 39 Tim Horton's shops, not to mention all the other donut shops," she continues. "In fact, on a per capita basis, the people in Etobicoke have fewer libraries than Toronto as a whole." As was the case when Rob Ford spoke on the John Oakley show last week regarding the City's labour costs, it would seem his older brother has a propensity to exaggerate when it suits him.

But how much of an exaggeration was it? Well, as it turns out, a pretty big one. In Ford's Etobicoke North ward, there are at least double the number of Tim Hortons than there are TPL branches (Rexdale, Humberwood and Northern Elms). And what about the city as a whole? Well, according to a somewhat recent list of Tim Hortons franchises with 416 area codes, the ratio of this particular donut shop to libraries comes in at almost three to one (just over 100 libraries compared to roughly 270 retail outlets, including those located at gas stations and other stores).

So, despite my limited skills, I made a map for Doug. Now he can directly compare the number of Tim Hortons franchises to public libraries in the whole city. Because, you know, the numbers O'Reilly cites above can be too big and abstract to get a handle on. And what better way to communicate this information than with a picture?

Use the map above to compare the number of Tim Hortons locations in Toronto to that of the TPL. A note about the data: the list of Tim Hortons locations is derived from GPS data that's at least a year old, so there might be minor inaccuracies. The map is used to highlight the overall trend more than as a guide to donut shops.



j-rock / July 20, 2011 at 04:28 pm
I'm not sure if the Ford brothers are conscious of their frequent lies, or if they really believe this stuff.
yup replying to a comment from j-rock / July 20, 2011 at 04:34 pm
I think they just have an increasingly dangerous tendency to speak without putting an ounce of thought into what they're saying.
Kieren replying to a comment from yup / July 20, 2011 at 04:46 pm
And it's fine because populist rhetoric doesn't have to be fact.
Rod / July 20, 2011 at 04:46 pm
user-pic shops are more important than libraries. A city with more libraries than coffee shops would be a city to be proud of!

Ignorant hicks.
TheRealJohnson / July 20, 2011 at 04:49 pm
Are you suggesting that the Ford brothers might not be entirely honest with their electorate?? Or that they might even be *gasp* not that well informed??
BB replying to a comment from yup / July 20, 2011 at 04:51 pm
Plus then the "fact" is already out there and his supporters will eat that up. His "Ford Nation" probably isn't even seeing all this stuff online that contradicts and disproves everything they're saying.
Andreas / July 20, 2011 at 04:52 pm
Well that's the problem, Those two dumb brothers are from an area Underserved by libraries compared to toronto. Too bad dumb and dumber can't get their numbers straight. Morons.
mikeb / July 20, 2011 at 04:55 pm
What's funny is that you've missed at least two Tim Hortons--there's one at St Clair and Vaughan as well as on Davenport, west of Kendall.

I can't see any libraries missing.
J.Rai / July 20, 2011 at 04:55 pm
As Republican Jon Kyl would say "his remark was not intended to be a facutal statement."
From an ex library worker / July 20, 2011 at 04:58 pm
You know what, though? Libraries are a luxury. And Tim Hortons are private industry and don't cost taxpayers a cent. I've worked in libraries and love them and am quite literate - but they could do with shorter hours and electronic book loans are a much cheaper way to deal with costs. Do we need that many physical buildings, physical inventory and all of that manpower? No. In trying economies, the loss of libraries isn't a pleasant though but it just may make sense to have fewer of them and more online book loans. Sad but's the way of the future. Get over it, people!
Don / July 20, 2011 at 05:01 pm
Maybe library books per capita would be a better measure. In suburban cities like Mississauga, they have fewer libraries, but the average branch is much larger. In Mississauga being 5 km away from the nearest library is no big deal because that's a pretty short drive, but that wouldn't really work in a city like Toronto.
Kieren replying to a comment from From an ex library worker / July 20, 2011 at 05:06 pm
I hate this argument that businesses don't cost taxpayers a cent. It's completely false, they benefit from business loans, sector subsidies and they also use existing infrastructure to maintain daily operations.

Derek replying to a comment from mikeb / July 20, 2011 at 05:07 pm
It doesn't surprise me that there are a few Tim Hortons missing. That portion of the map was generated via a Canada-wide locations list, which was then manually filtered by phone number for Toronto franchises. A few might have slipped through the cracks during this processes. The TPL branches, on the other hand, were manually input, and so I'm quite confident that they're all accounted for (including the Urban Affairs branch, which is still on the list).
quirkygeekgirl / July 20, 2011 at 05:08 pm
But doesn't Toronto have the largest readership for its library in the world or am I mistaken?
Craig replying to a comment from From an ex library worker / July 20, 2011 at 05:09 pm
You know what, not everybody had an e-reader or ipad or computer, some people need to have physical books because they have no other way or reading them.

Libraries are also more that just book depositories, they have DVD, CDs, and you can use the computer all things that require a physical space. They are also a space for social gatherings, Timmies won't let you bring ten kids in for a book reading, but the library will.

From an ex library worker / July 20, 2011 at 05:16 pm
Kieran - okay, I'll give you that, but it still beats the land acquisition costs, the bricks and mortar and maintenance costs of library buildings, the cost of printed materials and the cost of manpower! When there is a growing alternative of online library loans, why would the City not reduce its costs that way if it can - or like Don says, have fewer but larger libraries to become more efficient?

I LOVE libraries (and I think Ford is a buffoon), but let me tell you, when we went out on the picket lines because we made LESS than the union janitors, who really cared that we were out on strike? It's an inconvenience. It's not a necessary service, it's a luxury service. I ask you, would you rather have a road to drive on or a library if you had to make a choice? I'd take the road, every time. I've got books.
GS / July 20, 2011 at 05:28 pm
The millionaire Ford Bros. are under no obligation to speak the truth if it contradicts their agenda. Libraries are dangerous places because they contain facts. Facts get in the way. In any case, why should taxpayers pay for people to get books for free when the "customers" can go out to the bookstore and buy them?
cathy replying to a comment from From an ex library worker / July 20, 2011 at 05:29 pm
Were you actually in charge of paying for the online subscriptions? Because I am in my library and I can tell you that online isn't cheap, especially when it comes to journals. The books are also more expensive and they don't get used as much.

Also, don't forget that you aren't purchasing a lot of it, you're licensing it for a specific amount of users at a time. (Which is the answer when people complain that an infinite number of people can't borrow a digital book at once since there is no physical object.) Factor in the fact that this year publishers tried to get Overdrive to limit new purchases to a set number of check outs (which was ridiculously low) so that libraries would have to replace their digital copies every year. Paper is much cheaper in that case.

Don't get me wrong, online books are great, but they aren't accessible to everyone. There are also multiple studies available that prove that the cost of libraries is less than the cost of NOT having libraries.
Danforthist / July 20, 2011 at 05:32 pm
I'd pick libraries over roads (the car-oriented lanes anyway). I'm happy to take the subway & LRT and walk to work, hospital, school etc.

Libraries are essential services for poor kids who would otherwise have nothing to do except cause trouble. I should know, as I was one of them.

Your comments reflect the perspective of a spoiled wealthy person who can afford his own books, e-reader, etc.

Most Torontonians aren't nearly so well-off.
Andrew / July 20, 2011 at 05:41 pm
To quote Al Franken, "we're entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts."
skeeter / July 20, 2011 at 05:41 pm
"By the time you've proven a Ford wrong, he's already on to the next untruth. As such, he always keeps you a step behind." - hind.
polaris / July 20, 2011 at 05:55 pm

Those Ford Brothers sure have a lot of chootspah....

Anonamous Republican Prezidental Candidate
SF / July 20, 2011 at 05:55 pm
A lot of people still think about shushing librarians and musty books. But if you want to see a contemporary library at work, go to the Parkdale branch. It's more of a community meeting place than library, and for many people it's the one safe place they have. There are always tutoring sessions, community-group meetings, kids with nowhere else to go, people with no internet access looking for jobs, etc. Those librarians have taken on the secondary role of social worker for a lot of people who have nowhere else to go.
Ex library worker / July 20, 2011 at 05:58 pm
Danforthist - I'm not saying do away with all libraries, but it may be cost-effective to reduce them or look for ways to make them more efficient, like online books and/or larger but fewer libraries. There are school libraries where kids can check out books. There are lots of options.

I have lived in shared accommodations with only rice in the cupboard to eat and grew up in a family of six kids with plenty of hand-me-downs, so don't give me the spoiled wealthy person line. You are on a computer to write this, therefore YOU would be able to read online books, too!

What is wrong with looking for efficiencies to cut costs. Don't make this all about class.

And Cathy, no, I worked in libraries years ago before they thought of online books. I'd be interested in reading the studies.
Moira Dunphy / July 20, 2011 at 05:59 pm
In governance, decisions need to be made on behalf of the greater good of the community, not our own personal benefit. I find it hard to understand why a former librarian would not already understand the important and multiple functions of a library. Access to literacy, education and information are key to any democratic and progressing society. My library branch is there not for ME, but for US.
Bob But Not Doug / July 20, 2011 at 06:00 pm
> Do we need that many physical buildings, physical inventory and all of that manpower?

Well, I'm in a TPL branch right now, and it's packed because it's doubling as a place to stay cool in this insane heat wave.
Gadfly / July 20, 2011 at 06:05 pm
Burn all those books, waste of taxpayers money, go Ford!
P / July 20, 2011 at 06:12 pm
The most ridiculous thing I've heard all summer.

Andrew replying to a comment from Ex library worker / July 20, 2011 at 06:20 pm
@Ex library worker - Actually, school libraries are falling victim to funding cuts lately too.

Although I agree that you can certainly do a lot digitally, libraries are an invaluable public resource...and not just for books. Ask new Canadians, or people who can't afford a computer and an internet connection (there are still lots of those in Toronto).
Ex Lib / July 20, 2011 at 06:22 pm
I'm not saying get rid of them all! I'm saying make them efficient, look for efficiencies. That's what we all do in our houses to make ends meet, isn't it?
Andrew replying to a comment from Ex Lib / July 20, 2011 at 06:28 pm
Of course, but unfortunately - as those reports that have recently been released prove - there really isn't that much "gravy" or efficiencies to be found in City services. The real problem is a revenue shortfall. While I'm sure some money can be saved here and there, "finding efficiencies" seems to be code these days for "privatize and/or cut".
Boomergirl / July 20, 2011 at 06:29 pm

I am just enjoying the fact that you took the time to actually map out the difference between the two. Cautionary tale that politicians should well heed.
Elliot Richenbaumgartnersen / July 20, 2011 at 06:35 pm
I see a lot of online complaints, I hear about people ringing their bicycle bells outside city hall, but I don't see anyone actually doing anything to stop these jackasses.

At some point, the Western world forgot that when we wanted our politicians to listen to us, we took action. I'm not talking rioting, but you can't get the Fords to listen without seriously getting in their faces.
Kim replying to a comment from From an ex library worker / July 20, 2011 at 06:38 pm
I'd hate to see parents start reading bedtime stories to their kids from an e-reader, which by the way has raised some health concerns in regard to use by young children. E-readers will never replace a real, classic, much loved book.
Samantha / July 20, 2011 at 06:52 pm
Literacy and Basic Skills are the foundation of a Knowledge-Based Economy. Mr. Ford, you need these skills to operate a successful Tim Horton's. Libraries are essential to providing programs and services for those who may not have the means outside of the public school system!
lindy replying to a comment from Elliot Richenbaumgartnersen / July 20, 2011 at 07:57 pm
This may be news to you, but Ford was elected with an overwhelming majority. In a fair an open election.

michelle bachmann / July 20, 2011 at 08:14 pm
This great country needs libraries because books need libraries. Books I read. Some books I don't read and I don't understand many books. Libraries need books. Let me be very clear that Republicans read books.

Ohhh God I feel a migraine coming on.
Lurn Ed / July 20, 2011 at 08:24 pm
To quote my neighbour:

Give a kid a donut, he gets fat.

Give a kid a book, he gets an education.
Dave replying to a comment from lindy / July 20, 2011 at 08:32 pm
This may be news to you, but a majority is over 50%. An overwhelming majority is significantly more than 50%.

You could probably stand to spend more time in a library.
STOP / July 20, 2011 at 08:36 pm
Do Torontonians ever consider STOP?

Stating The Obvious Please.

In particular, to me the obvious is that you all must know Rob Ford is acting in conjunction with many other groups of people. Similar to the Cheney-paradigm.

You might hate Rob Ford, but these ideas of distraction and contempt of public services comes from support of other places.

Do Torontonians care to know what these other places, people, points of view are?
Reading stuff... replying to a comment from lindy / July 20, 2011 at 08:37 pm
Let's try to stick to facts, as a positive example to our elected representatives. In no way is 47% of voters an "overwhelming majority" of active voters. It is also worth noting that is just 23% of eligible electors. Not even a slim majority by any definition.

uvstudio replying to a comment from lindy / July 20, 2011 at 08:39 pm
Ford won the election based on an excellent marketing campaign, not on his merits, ideas, or vision. The vast majority of Torontonians feel cheated by now.
andrewS replying to a comment from lindy / July 20, 2011 at 09:08 pm
"This may be news to you, but Ford was elected with an overwhelming majority."

The "overwhelming majority" claim is as legitimate as the record-breaking vote count claim (lastman 2000), the labour cost claims, the gravy train claims, Rob's university diploma, his election expenses, his claims about constituent phone calls on Jarvis, and most recently this little Library Vs Timmies debate.
Morga / July 20, 2011 at 09:39 pm
I am a full supporter of the public library system and I use it regularly. But the amount of waste is insane!!!
I usually take out cookbooks and realized quite quickly, I never have to buy a book from amazon again. I was so surprised by the amount of books the city library carries. I decided to look up books on amazon that nobody wanted nor are they reviewed. The toronto library happens to have 10-30 copies of many many really crappy books, and surprise, none checked out. I continued and it is nothing short disgusting how much money has been wasted on books that nobody wants.
Let's not privatize, but I think maybe how much we buy should be determined by how much demand there is. There is just far too much waste.
Michelle / July 20, 2011 at 09:59 pm
I started volunteering at Sanderson last fall, and I continue to be amazed at how they do so much, serve so many people and create so much meaning in people's lives, and all on next to nothing. There is always something going on at this branch for kids who would otherwise be home alone or getting into trouble elsewhere. It is well loved by seniors and newcomers, and it provides a warm place in the winter, and a cool place in summer. I realize we're not talking about closing all the libraries, but how can privatizing them be a good idea? Community is not good for the bottom line, and so it won't be in the business plan.
Miroslav Glavic / July 20, 2011 at 10:26 pm
You missed the Morningside Library.
LibraryGirl replying to a comment from From an ex library worker / July 20, 2011 at 10:31 pm
@Ex library worker ... have you worked in a library recently? There are ebooks. Tons in fact...of course the technology isn't great for actually lending them to clients but we do have them. And they are not cheaper to buy. They are the same as a paperback book, sometimes the same as a hardcover. Harpercolins books only circ 26 times before they are automatically withdrawn by the publisher so that is annoying. DRM makes loaning ebooks a pain for libraries. Not to mention there is almast no kids books to buy for most formats of ereaders which is also a pain. I am sick of people constantly saying we should just go digital and just have ebooks. People who say that do not know what they are talking about and likely have enough money that they do not need libraries.
mike / July 20, 2011 at 10:35 pm
call Doug and tell hm how you feel
its the only waty directly you can do something
mike / July 20, 2011 at 10:36 pm
Or you can call the Blob
Derek replying to a comment from Miroslav Glavic / July 20, 2011 at 11:44 pm
It's there — right beside a Tim Horton's at Lawrence East and Kingston Rd.
Kevin / July 20, 2011 at 11:57 pm
I like my Timmies more than my libraries. At least one opens 24/7 so I can study in them throughout the night, haha. Instead of more libraries, have some that open 24/7, now that would be convenient for crammers like moi.
Taylor / July 21, 2011 at 12:57 am
Why do Republicans always go after libraries? Libraries and public daycare seem to upset them. Why?
The Gut Speaks replying to a comment from Morga / July 21, 2011 at 07:27 am
10-30 copies of really crappy books for a city of 2.5 million isn't really an outrage.

we can't just stock books based on popularity, or there'd be nothing but Harry Potter, John Grisham, and the Da Vinci Code.
marlon replying to a comment from Taylor / July 21, 2011 at 07:43 am
In Canada we don't have republicans we have conservatives.

Doug ford is simply trying to explain things in a language his followers understand. Gravy and donuts, these are things that ford nation 'gets'.
gadfly replying to a comment from Reading stuff... / July 21, 2011 at 08:34 am
@ Reading stuff - you really don't help your case when YOU clearly cannot READ.
Although lindy is guilty of exaggerating (isn't everyone? be honest!), your posted fiction is worse.
Ford won 47% of the 53.2% of the eligible voters. Where your drug-addled brain got 23% is known only to your dealer and you. That makes delta percent of 25%, not a majority, to be sure, but Ford had 2 decent candidates (Smitherman and Joe Pantalone). By contrast, Miller may have gotten 57% of the vote in 2006, but that was only against Jane whats-her-name and only 39% of the voters BOTHERED to show up, making his actual total vote only 22%. So, Ford won with a 3 point greater vote, against 2 credible candidates; whereas, Miller couldn't even inspire 40% of the people to show up!
(PS. Miller won in 2003 with only 16% of the total eligible voters!!! 43% of 38%)
If nothing else, Ford got people off their a$$es to vote! That has always been an issue in Canada: the usual suspects hijack the agenda, the voters tune out enmasse, then the chattering class struts around blabbering about 'their mandate.' Hilarious!

Back on topic: how many in this room have bothered to go to a library in the last decade? Be honest. Libraries are cool and are essential, but just like Fort York, nobody uses them.
Sorry, that's not true: I met a young man yesterday who spends his days at the Yonge reference library because his homeless shelter kicks him out at 8:30 and doesn't let him back in until 9:30 pm.
Marlon / July 21, 2011 at 08:48 am
Sorry but that's not true at all gad. I go to libraries all the time. I order books I want off the Internet then pick them up when they are shipped to my closest location. Most of my friends do as well. When ever I go to pick my book up, whether winter or summer, the place is full. All ages. Three closest libraries to me. I live in riverdale. I know that in a bubble (nobody supports ford because I don't know any of them) it can seem like no one uses a place but all you have to do is walk into one and see for yourself
Moira Dunphy / July 21, 2011 at 09:01 am
Last time in a library: 2 weeks ago. I have two sons who have been about ten times so far this summer. Why do conservatives/republicans/juntas/dictators/leaders who want to push an agenda against the public interest and contrary to the facts go after libraries and schools? Because education and knowledge is power. Al Franken has been quoted a lot these last few days: "You have the right to your own opinion, but not the right to your own facts."
Steve / July 21, 2011 at 09:16 am
Fewer services, more minimum wage jobs.

It's the new Toronto and you better like it.
LibraryTeen replying to a comment from Morga / July 21, 2011 at 09:48 am
To quote 'Our Public Library', "Already, certain aspects of Toronto’s public library system have been privatized with negative consequences for library users. Incredibly, a considerable amount of the job of book acquisition has been taken from professional library staff and been outsourced to “jobbers” who try to dump books that do not sell into the TPL. As a result, titles are being purchased that local branches have not asked for and do not want."
Peartreeisms / July 21, 2011 at 10:18 am
"Back on topic: how many in this room have bothered to go to a library in the last decade? Be honest. Libraries are cool and are essential, but just like Fort York, nobody uses them.
Sorry, that's not true: I met a young man yesterday who spends his days at the Yonge reference library because his homeless shelter kicks him out at 8:30 and doesn't let him back in until 9:30 pm."

Not true. I go to the library every weekend and it's always filled with people. I also pass by the Reference Library once in a while and it too, is filled with people. Perhaps you're confusing libraries with Tim Hortons?
iSkyscraper / July 21, 2011 at 10:29 am
TPL is one of the few things that works well still in Toronto and other cities look to as a massive success. We may no longer be a leader in bike lanes, LRT, subways, streetscapes, affordability or practically any other urban activity but damned if don't still have terrific libraries.

Rob Ford is the only big-city mayor in North America who lacks a college degree. He needs to go back to school before he touches the library system.
Elliot Richenbaumgartnersen replying to a comment from lindy / July 21, 2011 at 10:39 am
Elections aren't the be all and end all of democracy. We shouldn't just stand idly by if something stinks at the top. Pressure has to be exerted on the people making these decisions so that they do the will of the people.

the lemur / July 21, 2011 at 10:42 am
Libraries may not be universally popular but at least their patrons aren't responsible for cups and lids being scattered everywhere outside.

Libraries also generally don't exist in the congestion-causing drive-through format.
mirror replying to a comment from Taylor / July 21, 2011 at 10:45 am
If your question wasn't rhetorical, its because its easier to control uneducated, ignorant people. Pretty textbook way of taking over a society.
Frances replying to a comment from From an ex library worker / July 21, 2011 at 10:50 am
There are thousands - make that millions - of books that are only available as actual
paper books and it will be many years before all books are available as digital copies.
People are interested in many other subjects besides the ones currently fashionable and
those books will probably not be available electronically. Browsing through several
books to find the one you really need, or want, to read is difficult with electronic books.
Many, if not most, library users have trouble navigating a library without assistance and
the librarians are there to help people find what they want and need if they are lost or
confused. Libraries have children's programs that encourage reading and the love of
reading. Librarians know where to find the lists and indexes that might be helpful.
Librarians review books to look for the best ones no matter how obscure. Libraries, in
fact, probably provide the biggest group of customers for new or obscure authors, or
books of limited general interest. Toronto managed to fund a good library system during
the Depression; it is inconceivable to me that it can't do it now.
Frances replying to a comment from gadfly / July 21, 2011 at 10:53 am
I have - many times, in fact. My local library is Barbara Frum and it is usually pretty busy.
rek / July 21, 2011 at 10:57 am
Winning an election, by whatever margin, does not mean the victor gets carte blanche to do as he wants, or that everyone has to stay quiet until the next election.

The Mayors Ford are bad for this city, period.
Realist (mostly) / July 21, 2011 at 10:57 am
Was Saturday during the last decade? Lillian Smith seems to be pretty well used.
morga replying to a comment from The Gut Speaks / July 21, 2011 at 10:57 am
"10-30 copies of really crappy books for a city of 2.5 million isn't really an outrage."

It is when not a single copy is taken out! Seriously, 0 of 30 checked out. R U fing kidding me? I don't think you understand. I looked up books that barely anybody would know about let alone want. R U suggesting the city owning 10-30 copies of every book ever made while nobody wants to read them isn't wasteful.
Maybe having one or two of these books I might understand but 30! If a book is not popular, you might have to wait a little longer for it, big deal!
Lisa replying to a comment from Kieren / July 21, 2011 at 11:12 am
Not to mention the cost of getting rid of the waste businesses produce- recycling packaging, the cost of any pollution they make, cleaning up Tim's cups littering the streets... and if they pay their workers less than a living wage, there's the cost of services for the working poor. Like libraries, for example. Or recreation/ community centres, free emergency dental care for poor kids, public health, community gardens, public parks and pools, ect. But if the Fords cut all that, I guess we can all stay home and eat gravy.
Libraryteen replying to a comment from morga / July 21, 2011 at 11:17 am
To quote 'Our Public Library', "Already, certain aspects of Toronto’s public library system have been privatized with negative consequences for library users. Incredibly, a considerable amount of the job of book acquisition has been taken from professional library staff and been outsourced to “jobbers” who try to dump books that do not sell into the TPL. As a result, titles are being purchased that local branches have not asked for and do not want."
Lisa replying to a comment from Ex library worker / July 21, 2011 at 11:23 am
re: there are school libraries for kids to check out books

Actually, not all schools have librarians, the schools don't have the huge collection the public library does, and recently one board (Durham, I think) was talking about doing away with school libraries altogether. School libraries are also often seen as "gravy" and especially since the Harris years, have tiny budgets. They don't have all the books kids want to read because they don't have the money to have a big enough collection to circulate the most popular kids-lit. Not only that, they're not open the summer when the kids have tons of free time. Public libraries run summer reading programs and activities for kids, and are the only way many of the kids at the inner-city school where I taught, get their hands on the books they really want, that their parents and school can't afford to buy for them.
Bookman replying to a comment from From an ex library worker / July 21, 2011 at 12:05 pm
The rights for electronic books at the moment would end up costing the Toronto Library system a lot more money every year as the publishers want them to purchase the right to an electronic book that would expire after 100 loans. Generally unless they are badly mistreated a paper copy of the same book could be circulated far more than 100 time taking into account those that place a hold on the book, check them out and return them straight away for whatever reason. While I agree that TPL like all city services could be steam-lined in terms of expenses the city has to be very careful when claiming things like this.
chittral / July 21, 2011 at 12:15 pm
people still go to the library?
rek replying to a comment from morga / July 21, 2011 at 01:07 pm
Not every book or every copy is going to be taken out at any given time. They are also a one-time investment, unlike ebook licenses which need to be renewed at ever-increasing prices. (There's also a good chance some of those copies were donations or otherwise acquired for free.)

If you want to talk about waste, let's talk about 30+ TPS officers on duty at TFC games, and cops paid to be traffic cones at construction sites. Just yesterday on Yonge in the Summerhill area I saw a minor car accident with a cop lounging against a construction fence not 15 feet away, staring off into space.
gadfly / July 21, 2011 at 01:28 pm
Although the lively debates on blogger sites such as this are loads of fun, do not be under the misapprehension that they are in any way, shape or form representative of the public at large. Sadly, the vast majority DO NOT CARE. Not about libraries, not about bicycle lanes, not about fixed links to the island airport, not about any of the topics that raise the ire of the regulars on sites like these. People may like the IDEA of these concepts if a microphone is shoved in their face, but ask them to reach into their wallets - a whole different story!
But feel free to post and repost and repost again!
Welshgrrl / July 21, 2011 at 03:29 pm
I'm happy to contribute through my tax dollars, in fact I'd seriously (and gladly) pay more in order to keep this city worth living in. And I'm not a champagne socialist by any means.

I care about libraries because they offer a wide variety of invaluable resources and services over and above just books alone ... you may not care about them much, but that's your loss ultimately.
ella replying to a comment from gadfly / July 21, 2011 at 04:25 pm
what you say is true of toronto the mega city but definitely not of toronto the good
McRib replying to a comment from gadfly / July 21, 2011 at 05:05 pm
hey gadfly, you cheery fellow.

apparently city council has received more letters emails and phonecalls about the possibility of library cuts than any other cuts combined.

some people care. you don't, and thats fine. but you're just an internet asshole.
Adgirl replying to a comment from Taylor / July 21, 2011 at 05:16 pm
Because they want people to be dumb & the women to stay a home. That way they don't get questioned & can rule without having to worry about pleasing anyone but their rich-friends.
Adgirl replying to a comment from STOP / July 21, 2011 at 05:24 pm

Is that a serious question? Because if we are stating the obvious - that these cuts to community programs & services are BAD for this city (including the suburbs), our community, our economy, and for our citizens (because there are POOR, struggling people out there who relay upon these services to have a decent standard of living), than please why don't you enlighten us about these "other peoples" points of view?

I'd like to hear the logic behind this other point of view, because frankly I see everything that Rob Ford is doing as an attack of MY way of life & not just a "different point of view".
Joe Nolan / July 21, 2011 at 06:13 pm
Oh the solution is so simple! Move the libraries into Tim Hortons
Lex replying to a comment from Joe Nolan / July 21, 2011 at 07:34 pm
I'm guessing what they'd like to do is move Tim's into libraries, like the way corporate food and sponsorship moved into university space in the 90s. It's absolutely essential to blanket every square inch of the world in brands.
chi chi replying to a comment from Joe Nolan / July 21, 2011 at 08:06 pm
absolute brilliant idea. divide them up by sections. lmao
Glad We're Talking! / July 21, 2011 at 11:08 pm
Joe, that's a great solution! My library was closed for over a year for renovation. It wasn't always convenient, but you know what? I lived! I travelled to other libraries - or borrowed online! What about closing libraries in the mornings? What about having them open 4 days a week instead of 6? And what ABOUT bringing in a Tim Horton's? What about charging more for a library fine to make people actually bring them back? Why do people get their back up when we can just use some creative solutions to save some money in a city that is BROKE? We don't have to do away with all of them, just think outside the box a little!
Sylvie / July 23, 2011 at 07:50 am
Libraries are essential in any area and they are hardly underused in Toronto. People are lined up outside the doors waiting for the place to open and they are hard to shoo out at closing time. There's no such thing as a slow day (at least not in the neighbourhoods I've worked in) and I've never walked into a library that was empty.

I am a regular library user. I was in my local branch yesterday. I usually have at least six items checked out and another six on hold, and proximity to a library is a factor in my deciding where to live.

One thing that I think our Mayor and others really need to realize about libraries is that they support the conservative value of self reliance. People in libraries are there to self educate and improve their lot in life whether through job hunting or language and literacy tutoring among other such things.

They are not simply expecting someone else to fix their problems. They are using the resources available to them to better their lives.

There are also plenty of high school students trying to get their diplomas while having no access to the internet at home. Without libraries they would probably drop out of high school and that makes them far less employable and far more likely to wind up on welfare.

I am certain there are inefficiencies in the TPL system. The system still shows the marks from amalgamation and is a bit of a bureaucratic nightmare so I am certain there are places where a few judicious cuts can be made.

The thing is though, I want those cuts made by someone who values libraries, recognizes their importance and as such can make surgical cuts in the best way possible. Councillor Ford's comments reflect a disdain for libraries that I'm pretty sure his brother the Mayor shares. I'm concerned they'll be using a metaphorical sledgehammer instead.
Terry / July 23, 2011 at 10:23 am
Hear hear. I would suggest the mayor and his brother exit one of the numerous Tim Horton's outlets in Etobicoke (after they had their lunch and dessert), and then walk/bicycle - not drive - over to one of the less numerous public libraries and try reading.....
Aberford replying to a comment from Ex library worker / July 23, 2011 at 10:23 pm
You moron, we need more libraries and longer hours for libraries. Next year there will be another budget shortfall, but there will be nothing left to cut away at, so we need to make Robber Ford understand now that he we won't stand for it. Mild support for any of his motions is a betrayal of what make Toronto a great city. If he has his way, there won't be any libraries in Etobicoke next year.
Boo / July 24, 2011 at 09:06 pm
@chittral - uh, yeah dummy, they do.
Nextrish / July 26, 2011 at 05:15 pm
I'd love to understand Mayor Ford's vision. Here's what I see so far: we're going to build really expensive subways where LRT would do, but we are going to close libraries because they are too expensive. We're going to privatize city worker's jobs so that they become minimum wage and we're going to get rid of bike lanes so that the people making minimum wage have to ride the really expensive subway to get to work (or the EI office). Looking forward to the next step in this process when one community is pitted against the next to try to save their community centre, their library etc.
Miroslav Glavic replying to a comment from Derek / July 26, 2011 at 10:16 pm

That is the WRONG location for Morningside Branch, you see Heron Park at Morningside Avenue and Manse Rd, on the south side.

THAT is the proper location of Morningside Branch. You have it at the north west corner of Morninside and Lawrence.

Call me crazy but I passed it 20 minutes ago, and I pass that area going to work from home, and reverse when I go home in the area. The NW corner has a nofrills which I shop there weekly. :)
theodore / July 27, 2011 at 08:58 am
maybe the libraries should lease space to tim's or other food and beverage operations.
Steve / July 27, 2011 at 09:39 am
What's sad is that the Fords' ward could use a few more libraries.

North Etobicoke residents, before you mindlessly vote a Ford into office, maybe you should take a look around at the needs of your community first and find a representative who understands them. Of course the Fords don't value public libraries, being rich kids who have suckled the teet of white privilege their whole lives. Don't act surprised.
Steve Rapaport replying to a comment from Taylor / July 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm
Because conservative politicians prefer to control information and science. Libraries are subversive; they allow the great unwashed to access real research and current events analysis.

Here's what just happened to a scientist in Vancouver who tried to publish some science about salmon in Canada:;h=_AQDhvBeh
Steve Rapaport replying to a comment from Taylor / July 27, 2011 at 12:51 pm
Sorry, mistaken link. And this was in response to Taylor who asked why Conservatives have it in for libraries.
DLL replying to a comment from From an ex library worker / July 27, 2011 at 01:30 pm
What about all the programs that help children, new Canadians and give adult education for free? These people need a physical space learn. Summer programs for kids and adults are a super important part of many communities - especially in the summer months. This isn't so much about money as it is the integrity of Canadians. I'm so embarrassed to know that one of our major cities is letting this uninformed, illiterate fool speak for them.
Jess replying to a comment from Morga / July 27, 2011 at 02:29 pm
For every surplus book that you think nobody wants, there is probably the same number - if not more - that you simply cannot get at the TPL. I've had books waitlisted for months before I gave up (possibly because they were stolen or lost.) And there are plenty of books that just aren't offered. So I don't think that this is a valid argument for cuts. Who gets to decide what publications are included? I don't know. Do we need to pay for yet another audit to find out? I don't think so.
Lyn replying to a comment from Nextrish / July 27, 2011 at 02:55 pm
I think his vision is that we can all stop paying taxes, because obviously if the city pays private companies to run things, it'll be a lot cheaper and more efficient. Y'know, like when the conservatives under Mike Harris privatized hydro. That worked out so well that Ernie Eaves backtracked and used the money we'd saved by cutting "gravy" like water testing in Walkerton, to subsidize our hydro bills. Then we had fewer services and yet still there was a deficit. To be fair to Ernie, he inherited a mess from Mike.

Maybe the Fords will put all the extra money into making the roads extra smooth. That'll be a good thing I guess, since that's were our kids will be playing after parks and rec., libraries, pools and community grants for kids' groups all have their budgets cut. Luckily there'll still be plenty of cops to enforce that "no ball playing" bylaw. Don't blow any bubbles, kids!
Trish Murphy replying to a comment from From an ex library worker / July 27, 2011 at 05:38 pm
I'd take the books every time. I've got feet, so i could walk on a trail, but there is no way I could afford to buy, or afford to house, all the books I have read or will read.
Trish Murphy replying to a comment from Kevin / July 27, 2011 at 05:47 pm
You can download e-books from the library 24 hours a day. The selection is limited but one can usually find something to read. No substitute for a real flesh and blood library, but the service does exist.
Trish Murphy replying to a comment from andrewS / July 27, 2011 at 05:54 pm
I have been out of town and, before that, deeply immersed in Tim Flannery's work (borrowed from the library) so I would be grateful if some kind soul would provide clarification. What's this about Blob Ford's university diploma? I missed seeing this. Thanks.
Val / July 30, 2011 at 11:12 pm
Rob Ford: Canada's Sarah Palin.
Val / July 30, 2011 at 11:13 pm
Rob Ford: Canada's Sarah Palin.
Other Cities: Montreal