Back at the Ranch…

Vote Jim Holmes, executive member of the Friends of the RPL, for mayor of Regina.  A friend of mine in Regina has been doing a great job of tracking some of the improprieties of current mayor, Pat Fiasco Fiacco on the “Politics 'n' Poetry” blog (and yes, those two things do go together and should go together more often!)

Speaking of the Friends of the Regina Public Library, their story is a great one.  In April 2004, the Regina Public Library board announced plans to cut three branches (mostly in inner-city locations) as well as the Dunlop Art Gallery and Prairie History Room, both of which were housed in the central library.  The board planned to move from the current nine branches to a model with a central library and four branches in each quadrant of the city, preferably tied to shopping mall locations.  A Friends group sprang up and “In only 85 days, 26,048 Regina citizens signed our petition in support
of increased funding for library services. That's more people than
voted for all ten city councillors
combined in the last civic election!” 

The drive was successful and nothing was closed.  How frickin' cool is that?  In our “Public Libraries in the Community” course, we're learning about the importance of friends groups and I think that story brings it home like no other (although our instructor's story of a group of seniors storming a public meeting when a branch that was popular with seniors was threatened is pretty cool too!)

Comments 4

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    Hey J! Thanks for the link. Yes, that library campaign was amazing. I don't know that I've ever witnessed such a coming-together of community in all my 40+ years. After 6 weeks of 16 hour days, though, I was exhausted, turned my role over to others, and watched from the sidelines. What an amazing community of support!

    Posted 18 Oct 2006 at 4:24 pm
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    One thing I can't remember – was there a “Friends of RPL” group already or did one spring up completely around this issue? (My memory is that it is the latter.)

    Posted 19 Oct 2006 at 8:01 pm
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    Hello, I am a friend of Jason's and a Reference Librarian at RPL. Those cuts affected myself and my wife personnally as I had just been recruited by RPL to be their Business Librarian and four months later I was going to lose my job (as the cuts included 28 staff layoffs). The friends group came about because of the cuts, there was not a group before this, as far as I know.
    Regards,
    Jason Bird

    Posted 31 Oct 2006 at 7:20 am
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    Hey there,
    Thanks for the comment. (Is that your first? I can't remember if you've posted before but if you haven't, I hope you continue to do so. It'd be great to have your perspective as a working librarian and FIMS alum on some of the things I write about.)
    As you say, it's important to remember the human dimension of cuts like this. I'm not sure if this has ever happened in libraries but I've heard stories of businesses having to make cuts and instead of laying off those lowest on the totem pole, everybody agrees to drop to 4/5 time (or whatever) to keep everybody employed. I don't know if RPL could've (or would've?) done something like this if the plan to cut 28 jobs had gone through but I think it's important to think outside the box when faced with a crisis like that one.

    Posted 31 Oct 2006 at 7:29 am

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