I recently came across this picture I took at one of my branch libraries soon after I started working as Branch Supervisor for Southeast Regional Library in 2007.
Like the communities where they’re located, many rural libraries are often relatively “conservative” in the dictionary (as opposed to the more loaded political) sense of the word – they’re authentic, cautious, practical, fiscally responsible — a traditional institution that’s inherent to social stability.
That’s why the cuts to libraries, so disproportionately affecting rural libraries, that are being imposed by a rural-based, conservative political party are such a head scratcher for me.
I mean, this photo alone has so much that defines rural Saskatchewan in my mind – the tablecloth (probably handsewn by a local volunteer), the flower print folding card table, the bunny ornament (lent by a local library board member?) and the daffodils, perhaps picked right from the branch librarian’s flower bed in the spring? (These are all things that simply don’t happen in city libraries. If flowers show up at my branch, they’re usually from the flower shop in our strip mall!) 😉
Another thing to note about this photo – these are pretty much all some older, worn books – the only kind that many less-well-resourced rural libraries had access to before the Sask Party funded the “One Card, One Library” model in 2007 and likely the same type of books that rural library patrons will only have access to once again as the province-wide system is dismantled – should those small libraries continue to exist at all.
So, to make an Easter analogy – here’s hoping that our rural libraries can be resurrected during this holy time celebrating renewal and rebirth.