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 probably 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.

Comments 5

  1. Shae wrote:

    It’s hard to know where to start with such a clueless and misinformed post. But I’ll try…
    This is the most disgusting article I have ever read. You are judging someone without knowing who they are and your ignorance makes me sick. In this world where people are allowed to have an opinion should be allowed to share it. His post is solely that, his own opinion on the matter. Which is by the way allowed to be shared. Do you really believe that finding a library is more important than funding a hospital??? Did you know that there isn’t even a hospital in Beechy just a small health center?? And can I just point out the fact that you just implied that all famers are rich and have all the $$$ to spare is so ignorant I can’t even take it seriously… I honestly hope that you realize how stupid you sounded and how offensive that is. Farmers have way larger expenses than bloggers I’ll tell you that. Also, who are you to judge someone on their religion, “If only that spirit of generosity and concern for others extended to those closest to home.” I’m sorry… How do you know how he treats people close to him. He has done more for this province then your judging self has and on top off that he’s making a real difference somewhere else, what has your sorry self done? Wrote an article about how people are suffering and that something needs to be done? You are proving his point, you based all of this from what you saw of him online. In our digital age it is true. Libraries aren’t used as often as they once used to be. You walk into a library and the most common site is teens going there to have free time on computers, not even kidding you. Anyways, my point is you shouldn’t judge someone with out knowing who they are, really you should already know since you are such a huge library supporter that you shouldn’t ever judge a book by its cover.

    Posted 27 Jun 2017 at 12:21 pm
  2. HeadTale wrote:

    Hi Shae,

    First off, thanks for writing. You probably won’t believe it but I’d rather hear from people who disagree with me than people who do – differences of opinion are what makes the world what it is – as I’m sure Mr. Hermanson knows from his long career in politics.

    Now, you’ve leveled a lot of charges so I’ll try to reply to them one by one…

    * “most disgusting article I have ever read” – I think you’re either engaging in a bit of hyperbole or you don’t read very much. 😉

    * “judging someone without knowing who they are” – but isn’t that exactly what you’re doing with me with your comment?

    * “his post is his opinion and he’s allowed to share it” – never said he couldn’t. But again, part of the deal is that when you share your opinion, you might get a response that disagrees. Just like you’re doing with your comment and then I’m doing with my reply to your comment.

    * “Do you really believe that finding a library is more important than funding a hospital???” I’m not sure that I said funding a library is more important than funding a hospital but I do believe that it’s not useful or productive to pit important public services against each other. I believe hospitals, highways, schools *and* libraries are important. Mr. Hermanson disagrees and I happen to believe he’s wrong.

    * “And can I just point out the fact that you just implied that all famers are rich” – I suggested that, using Mr. Hermanson’s logic, the wealthy farmers of the Beechy area should pay for the grid roads upkeep since they were the only ones using them. But in no way did I imply that *all* farmers are rich. In fact, since you don’t know me, you also don’t know my dad was a farmer and I can guarantee that, for this reason, I know very well that not all farmers are rich!

    * “who are you to judge someone on their religion” – at the risk of sounding like a broken record, you can’t defend Mr. Hermanson’s right to share his opinion then attack me for doing the same thing.

    * “How do you know how he treats people close to him.” I’m not a religious scholar like Mr. Hermanson apparently attempted to be but I do know that the Bible doesn’t specify that you’re only supposed to treat people close to you well,it says to treat *all* people well. I’m not sure Mr. Hermanson’s politics and approach to life are achieving that?

    * “He has done more for this province then your judging self has” – can you be more specific? What has Mr. Hermanson done to improve Saskatchewan?

    * “you should already know since you are such a huge library supporter that you shouldn’t ever judge a book by its cover.” – this was quite clever and my favourite line of your post – sincerely. But given your typos, your hyperbole, and your inability to accurately comprehend what I actually said in my post, I would encourage you to visit your local public library and take out a book or three. 😉

    Posted 27 Jun 2017 at 4:26 pm
  3. Shae wrote:

    Very clever! I love your response! Honestly I know that I was being over dramatic but I wanted to defend him because yes, he can have his own opinion, as well as you can have one of him and me of you. Which I am pleased to see that I have definitely misjudged you! I apologize. I’m a brutally honest person and someone who is quick to defend people, which is why I had a lot to say about this post and really don’t care if I’m targeted for defending something or someone.
    I’m going to first say this about your first response, no I don’t read a lot of articles because I end up getting too involved and always end up feeling like I need to defend the ones being targeted. Just one of my weaknesses you could say…
    I don’t like how you involved his family in the post. That’s really what got me worked up. And then my post was the aftermath. That family is a wonderful family, and they didn’t need to be mentioned at all.
    Yes I realize that you never compared libraries and hospitals. I just feel that there are bigger issues out there right now and personally I don’t think that libraries should be a top priority. I know how bad the health care system is and would rather have people put money towards having a better running/functional hospital rather than trying to keep a library running. Especially since it’s possible to rent books on our devices and if you say that a physical book is better than reading off a screen, I agree. But there is nothing we can do with our devices that can replace a hospital. But everyone has there own priorities.
    Another thing I do want to point out that while he was chief commissioner of the CGC he fought to have quality grain control, and succeeded. That’s what he did for Saskatchewan. It’s hard for some people to understand how that’s a good thing or how it’s helping, but not everyone is informed about these kind of things.
    Anyways, I enjoyed this little chat and I thank you for your awesome comebacks! Keep on doing your thing, and next time don’t pull out the family card, that’s never fair.
    Thank you!
    (I am French so English writing is not a strength of mine, sorry if anything was painful to read)

    Posted 28 Jun 2017 at 3:34 pm
  4. HeadTale wrote:

    Are we having a civil discussion on the Internet??? Wow – that’s a rarity! 🙂

    Anyhow, thanks for posting again and taking my response so good naturedly instead of turning this into a pissing contest (which is so easy to do on the Internet where it’s often difficult to convey tone and intent.)

    And I’m glad you’re quick to defend people who you feel are being wronged – I try to follow a similar approach in my own life but I try to focus on defending people who are unable to defend themselves and/or who have less power and are being attacked by those above them.

    Mr. Hermanson is a high profile farmer and former politician who probably doesn’t need much defending by anyone. The people who have been hurt by the policies of his former political parties on the other hand *do* need defending which is part of why I went after him in my post.

    The party that he formerly led – the Sask Party – cut funding to libraries and whether you realise it or not, that was a direct attack on many of the most vulnerable people in our society who don’t always have the support of their family, friends, church, community and others or the wealth, education and connections that someone like Mr. Hermanson does.

    As for going after his family, I agree that would be in bad form if I had specifically targeted them but I’m not sure that I did – I mentioned in passing that I hoped this grandkids took advantage of what their public library has to offer even if their grandfather didn’t value the library. I also said that he and his wife appear to have gone on a mission trip with their church – which is something he had posted about publicly on his Facebook.

    And it will sound corny but in attacking libraries, the party that Mr. Hermanson formerly led is attacking my family – not just because I make my livelihood working in libraries but I consider many of the people I work with and the patrons I serve to be like my extended family. So his baseless attack was, in many ways, an attack on my family and I’m actually proud that I found what I thought was a fairly positive way to respond to his attack – by listing the things he could learn at the library and the ways that libraries are important *without* resorting to direct attacks on his character or achievements.

    Oh, and your English is better than mine and I have a BA – English degree so no worries about making yourself understood! Merci pour l’écriture. 😉

    Posted 03 Jul 2017 at 10:30 pm
  5. Shae wrote:

    Haha we must be! And yes, very rare!

    I’m sorry that you had to go through that! No wonder you felt the need to defend libraries!

    I think it’s great that he and his wife went on a missions trip!

    Overall I’m glad we were able to discuss this all civilly as you mentioned is rare nowadays.

    Merci! That means a lot to me since it had been a struggle for me all throughout my school days.

    Santé!

    Posted 30 Jul 2017 at 9:34 am

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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