Warning, rant ahead, proceed with caution:
It’s come to my attention that the Township of Uxbridge is closing the Zephyr Public Library. They cite rising costs and dwindling usage in a small ‘hamlet’.
This raises a number of issues for me. In a society where the schools are racing our children through their education, taking a hands off approach and forcing them to choose their careers before they even have a chance to develop socially. Sending them to post secondary institutes when they are just barely legal to drive. These same institutes who then show very little interest in whether these same children pass or fail. In essence, throwing them to the wolves. Here we are reducing the number of peripheral educational outlets.
What’s this have to do with a small library in an even smaller town? Money. Plain and simple. It’s no longer about the people, the faces, the development of community spirit. What it all boils down to is the almighty dollar that has supplanted everything else. We are a society run by corporate accountants not the grit and guts, the sweat and skill of hard work, the sense of family that use to add character and voice.
There is no balance anymore. Small towns are getting lost by the very same people elected to council whose eyes are on the big prize, the developers money.
Do you remember a time when you knew the local grocer by name? The mayor was someone the same as you? Town events were promoted and encouraged. Local sports brought families together?
I’m sorry to say that those days are rapidly fading. As a writer, I am saddened to see the library go because of reduced budget for the townships library. No, I didn’t use it mainly because I like to buy my books, but not everyone is as lucky as I am. Unfortunately, the people who use that library won’t be going to the Uxbridge Public library for their research or casual reading needs, or even a meeting place for book clubs. No, they’ll be going to the brand new library in Mount Albert. Yup, in York region not Durham.
So once again, the Uxbridge town council in its infinite wisdom is instead forcing its population to go outside of its borders for their needs. Like the soccer clubs and baseball teams who have to travel to places like Port Perry, Lindsay, Newmarket to find well maintained and bountiful playing surfaces, we will be force to travel to another community to expand our minds.
I remember when community used to be our most valuable commodity, but with the ever-expanding Toronto looming on our doorstep, it would seem we’ve been reduced to the Metropolitan bed and breakfast. I guess everything can be bought for a price.
One final question, I wonder if the amount they are reducing the budget for the Library will be going towards snow removal on our roads? Or cutting the grass on the kids soccer pitches in a more timely manner? No? I didn’t think so.
Next time you see a council member ask them how long they’ve been promising the kids a skate park like the one in Stouffville, or more baseball diamonds and soccer fields. Ask them why when the Men and Women’s softball league (drawing teams and business from a far-reaching area) asked for a pavilion, the council refused the leagues offer to build it with their own members skilled labour and instead hired an outside firm for three times what it would have cost the league to build it.
So we lose a great place to read, to get away from the hustle and bustle of life and escape between the pages of a good book. Bask in the smell and quiet of row upon row of history bound in paper, board and leather. A home for authors of all distinctions and hopefully, someday, a home for my books right next to my peers. We lose a place to go a meet our favorite authors and hear their words in their voices or just a place to go and talk with a group about a common book. I guess there’s no place in today’s politics for literature and creative arts.
What it boils down to is promises. Empty ones at that.