Canadian library closures

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“Mr Speaker, I smell a rat; I see him forming in the air and darkening the sky; but I’ll nip him in the bud” [attributed to Boyle Roche MP]

I too smell a rat in the Slashdot story of library closures in Canada.

The issue was not the closures – they’re pretty well documented – but that the comments thread was full of railing against anything right-wing. The one at the end of the link was fisheries, the one at Slashdot was healthcare libraries.

The task is to determine whether Harper, as a tory, is closing those taxpayer funded enitities which are given to leftwing literature or whether, as one of Them, he is part of the worldwide closure of anything worthwhile.

It gets more interesting – Maclean’s, the well known Canadian weekly, wrote:

So why are libraries under siege? The general consensus among the library-savvy in this country echoes the view of one former public librarian and professional researcher on Vancouver Island I spoke to:

“The public library doesn’t perform its traditional mandate anymore because information and how it’s accessed has changed so rapidly. Also, resources are spread too thin among branches, when they should be merged rather than duplicated. And a lot of librarians currently perform the duties of social workers and teachers, looking after latchkey kids when social workers should be monitoring them. We should consolidate public libraries and community centres—blend their budgets staffs—so they can do their jobs much more efficiently.”

Yes, thought there had to be some sort of sociological reason in there. As for Maclean’s itself, Wiki says:

For the November 2006 University Rankings issue, 22 Canadian universities refused to provide information directly to Maclean’s. To rank those universities, the magazine relied on data it collected itself, as well as data drawn from third party sources such as Statistics Canada.[citation needed] Among the universities that refused to provide information directly to Maclean’s in the fall of 2006 were: University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, Dalhousie University, McMaster University, University of New Brunswick, University of Manitoba, Université du Québec network, Simon Fraser University, University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge, Ryerson University, Université de Montréal, University of Ottawa, York University, Concordia University, University of Western Ontario, Lakehead University, Queen’s University, Carleton University, and University of Windsor. The withholding of data served as a means of voicing the universities’ displeasure with the methodology used to determine the Maclean’s ranking.

That would appear a pretty comprehensive damning of Maclean’s … or is it a damning of the opacity of those universities? No one wishes to be scrutinized and ranked, least of all leftwingers in academic sinecures.

Interesting.

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2 Comments

  1. An interesting thing last evening. This post was scheduled but obviously not published but after it was scheduled, quite a few Canadians came in to view the site. I just note in passing.

  1. The Canadian War on Science: A chronological account of chaos & consolidation at the Department of Fisheries & Oceans libraries – Confessions of a Science Librarian