10 Things Elwin Hermanson Could Learn At A Library #skpoli #SaveSKLibraries

Former Reform MP and first leader of the Sask Party, Elwin Hermanson, came out of the woodwork (there’s a Hermanson/hermit pun in there somewhere) recently to weigh in on the backlash to the Sask Party’s cuts to public libraries…

It’s hard to know where to start with such a clueless and misinformed post.  But I’ll try…

  1. He Could Learn That Libraries *Aren’t* Underutilized
    Outside of traditional book circulation which is falling (in some libraries but not all!), libraries are seeing increases in pretty much every other metric – ebook use, Internet use, program attendance, in-person visits, library-to-library lending.
  2. He Could Learn That Libraries Are Part of the Social Contract 
    Libraries are actually no different than schools, healthcare, roads in that those are all things we have, collectively, agreed to fund through our tax dollars to make a better society.
  3. He Could Learn That People *Do* Donate To Keep Libraries Running
    Especially in rural communities, people give their time, money and numerous other things to help keep their library running.  But to expect those library supporters to be the only ones to contribute to something that benefits everyone is ludicrous.Here’s a direct quote from the Beechy, SK Public Library page that better explains that point:

    “The library has been blessed with the hard work, help and generosity of many volunteers. Along with grants from the R.M. of Victory, the Village of Beechy and the Wheatland Regional Library, our main source of income has been through rummage sales. The first income from a rummage sale was $100.00 from the Minnie Lake and Buffalo Basin Homemakers clubs in 1959. The library now holds semi-annual rummage sales, in October and April, which raise funds from $1800.00 to $2500.00 each.”)

  4. He Could Learn That Just Because You Don’t Value A Public Service Yourself, Doesn’t Mean It’s Worthless
    Many people who don’t have kids still realise the value of schools and if you’re fortunate enough to never have to call the fire department, I bet you’re still glad it exists.  Libraries are the same – even if you don’t use them, you should at least be able to understand how they provide value to society economically, socially and culturally (especially if you’re a former MP and former leader of a provincial political party.)
  5. He Could Take Some Classes To Learn How To Better Use Technology Now, I don’t want to be ageist. But Mr. Hermanson is 64 years old and when he posted his thoughts to Facebook, he made them “Public”.  This meant that the 7000+ members of the “Save SK Libraries” group were able to go directly to his post and share their counter-opinions about the value of libraries.  Perhaps he intended to create a mini-shit storm on his page but I doubt it.  I regularly teach seniors at my library how to use social media and other technology-related skills.  I’m sure Mr. Hermanson’s local library would be willing to do the same for him.
  6. He Could Learn The Importance of Privacy in “Our Digital Age”
    Because Mr. Hermanson had much of his Facebook page set to Public posts, it was easy to see all sorts of private information – from him casually making “austerity” jokes with former Federal Minister of Agriculture, Gerry Ritz, to photos of his extended family (whom I hope choose to take advantage of library storytimes, Summer Reading Programs and other services – which, though their grandfather might not realise it, are all things that help give children the absolute best chance for future success!)
  7. He Could Look Up Government Records To See If The Grid Roads Near Beechy, Saskatchewan Are Underutilized
    If so, perhaps the wealthy farmers in that area should donate for those roads’ upkeep? 😉
  8. Someone Could Teach Him That You’ll Never Win An Argument On The Internet 
    After dozens of comments from members of the “Save SK Libraries” group in response to his FB post, he tried to reply to the “venom” instead of just switching the post to “Friends Only”.
  9. If He Read Some Fiction, He Might Learn That We Contain Multitudes
    There are lots of funny posts on his page that have nothing to do with politics which remind me that Mr. Hermanson is, in many ways, a typical rural Saskatchewan farmer, no different than many of the people I grew up around in Indian Head (well, his pension is a lot better than most old-timer farmers out there since he was a long-time elected politician.)  As with so many people weighing in about libraries these days, I don’t think Mr. Hermanson is necessarily a bad guy – just badly informed.
  10. He Could Learn (Remember?) What The Bible Says About How We Treat The Least Among Us
    Mr. Hermanson’s Facebook page also says he studied Christian Education/Theology at Eston College. I wonder if that college had a library where he could read what the Bible says about how to treat the less fortunate among us?  But given how he feels about public libraries, maybe he never bothered to visit the college library either?  Mr. Hermanson appears to have recently completed a (mission?) trip to Ghana with his wife.  If only that spirit of generosity and concern for others extended to those closest to home.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 1

  1. From Head Tale - A Timeline of Major Events in the #SaveSKLibraries Campaign #skpoli #SAVEDSKLibraries on 25 Apr 2017 at 11:55 pm

    […] swarm his page with comments to “correct the record”.  (This development also leads to my fifth post to get over 1000 views in the past month!) […]

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