The Library Union says that the Weston and Mount Dennis libraries are in danger of being closed because they have low circulation and are in the ward of a councillor who supports Mayor Ford’s cost-cutting plan.
Frances Nunziata, our councillor, is a long-time ally of Mayor Rob Ford. She supported him early in his election campaign, and she was given the role of Speaker in council. Her position, according to the Toronto Public Library Workers Union, now puts her in danger: she cannot be seen fighting his policies.
Both the Weston and Mt Dennis branches—the only ones in her ward—have low circulation numbers. Weston circulated 153,000 books last year; Mt Dennis circulated 130,000. The library that Doug Ford, the mayor’s brother, said he would close “in a heartbeat”, has a circulation of 93,000, and a typical Toronto library circulates about 320,000 books, more than twice as many as Weston.
The press release is speculative. Nobody knows whether branches will be closed, or how that decision will be made. The library board voted Tuesday to defer until September considering the KPMG report that recommended branch closures . The press release says,
“We don’t know how the closure decisions will be made but it is not going to be an easy task, politically speaking,” says Maureen O’Reilly, President of the Toronto Public Library Workers Union Local 4948.
“If it is done strictly by circulation, residents in the Executive Committee’s wards will suffer the most because those councillors strongly support the Mayor’s cost cutting agenda and would have no other choice but to vote to close those libraries.”