I wanted to take a moment to talk to you about something, and ask for some help if you're on Facebook.
The other day, I made a post saying that my mom might lose her job. Here's the long story.
I live in a little hamlet called Munster, population 1600. It's got two main roads, a Macs Milk, a Church, a restaurant, and a library. We're surrounded by farmland, and it's 20 minutes to the nearest gas station or grocery store. We're a tight knit community and rely on the few resources we have. A few years back, the province, in a bid to save money, made a lot of smaller towns and cities amalgamate into one, to save on administrative work. Munster, my little hamlet, became part of the city of Ottawa. Now if you've ever lived in a rural area, you'll know why this is a horrible idea. City governments are always going to put money into places where the most people can be affected. This leaves those in rural areas ignored. Worse than that, a lot of what we had, we lost, or started getting substandard. Suddenly our roads aren't being plowed regularly, and that dream of getting an extra soccer field? Gone. Rural governments are run very differently than city ones, and it's left people in my area miserable.
The only service that has been improved for us has been the library. The library was the reason people in my area got internet that wasn't dial up. It suddenly gave people in this small town (with an equally small library) access to any book within the Ottawa library system. Via the library webpage we could request books to be sent to our little branch, from home. Or use some of the wide variety of online resources. And we *do* use it. Every summer the library hold a reading program, and the walls just get covered in the coloured ballots that the kids submit for all the books they read. They even have an adult reading club, that has the best participation of any branch in Ottawa. Every week a story time is held and between 40-60 people show up (any more and it'd be a violation of the fire code). Kids in small towns read. A lot. There isn't a lot else to do. The library is a central part of the community, and it's one we all love.
Last year, the people of Ottawa elected a new mayor, who promised not to raise property taxes if her were elected. He almost backed out of that promise but the media jumped all over it. Now in an attempt to save money, they're now threatening to close 10 branches of the Ottawa public library, most of them rural ones. My library is one of them. My mom is the head librarian of the Munster library. Even if she weren't though, I'd still be fighting to keep our library. I can't tell you how much I've used it, and what a blow it would be to the people of our community if we were to lose it. We have had this library for years. It's in a donated heritage building, and we managed to keep it going on the tiny municipal budget long before the big city of Ottawa decided to step in. We can't lose it now, not after we've lost so much else. If you live in the Ottawa area, please take a moment and see what you can do.
If you're on Facebook, please join this group, even if you're not from the area, high numbers of members will help show support.