The Mount Dennis Community Association and the library are collecting opinions on improvements to the reading garden, and they’re shooting for a grant from the City. Your opinion will doubtless help.
Complete with a vertical garden, solar-panel operated ventilation and a rainwater collection system, the vision for the garden was beautifully portrayed in local resident and George Brown Architectural Technology student, Rachel Carter’s concept drawing.
As part of Toronto’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, Mount Dennis Library along with these others, has been granted additional funding to allow it to be open between 1 and 5 p.m. from now until June. The idea is to be open on Sundays during the school year to support students who may otherwise have nowhere to study or access a computer.
Unfortunately, Weston’s beautiful Art Nouveau, Carnegie-built library will remain firmly shuttered on Sundays. At one time it was common for all library branches to be open on Sundays. The rot started with former Mayor, David Miller in 2007 when he needed to find some money in a budget crunch. Libraries have suffered ever since and workers treated more and more shabbily as the video below explains:
Readers may remember with a nostalgic fondness the random brain farts of former Councillor Doug Ford who once falsely alleged that there were more library branches in his ward (2) than Tim Hortons Coffee shops. Apparently that would have been a bad thing.
But meanwhile (emphasis on mean), Mayor John Tory still wants Toronto Public Libraries to cough up a 2.6% reduction in spending. Like the Ford boys, Tory believes the right-wing mantra that there is lots of waste in the system and that hard working taxpayers must be protected from increases. Instead, despite his protestations that services to the poor will be untouched, Tory will be passing the buck to the poor through increased fees, reduced service levels and a weaker library system. It’s not as if Toronto residents pay high taxes in comparison to their neighbouring citizens.
Toronto’s property taxes are considerably lower than those of other municipalities. The result is great for the wealthy but because of a services squeeze, not so much for people trying to escape poverty.
Toronto’s biggest expense is the Police Service and Board whose spending has steadfastly resisted all efforts to be reined in. The Toronto Public Library system is well down on the list.
Christopher Hume, the sharp architecture and urban affairs critic for the Toronto Star, has given the Mount Dennis Library the once-over, and he likes it a lot.
Of course Doug Ford will hate it, but not so the thousands of people who live in Mount Dennis. Their neighbourhood’s 60-year-old public library has just reopened after a brilliant $4-million remake. Not only has the building never looked better; many hope it will be a harbinger of the good things to come to a part of town where that has been rare.
Toronto Public Library’s Mount Dennis branch will be closed for over a year beginning on Saturday, October 29th. This is to allow for extensive renovations. During that time, Mount Dennis patrons are asked to pick up their holds at the Weston branch on King Street. This will no doubt mean a busier library and an even tougher time to find a parking spot for regular Weston patrons as many people will come by car.
Would it be too much to expect that Weston branch hours will not be reduced? Perhaps there is even a case for expanding hours while Mount Dennis is closed.