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Possible Closing of Urban Affairs Library [email]

grey

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Colleagues,

The Toronto Public Library Board is considering the closure of the Urban Affairs Library located at Metro Hall (King and John Streets, Toronto). All materials will be transferred to the Metro Reference Library. There is no indication of how the collection will be managed if transferred and the level of service that will be delivered in the new location. The staff report indicates an annual savings of approximately $730,000.

Attached is the link [Item 9 - Board Report 2011 operating budget update]:

http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/about-the-library/board/meetings/2011-jan-06.jsp

The collection is an important resource for those undertaking research in architecture, planning, urbanism, municipal affairs, political science, urban geography and other related fields. It is vital that the community lets the Library Board know about the potential and negative impact that will be brought about by this closure.

If you are interested in making your voice hear, you are urged to contact the Library Board directly, by writing the Secretary as follows:

The Secretary
Toronto Public Library Board
789 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario M4W 2G8
Phone: 416-393-7215 (9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday to Friday)
Fax: 416-393-7083
Email: Nancy Marshall at nmarshall@torontopubliclibrary.ca

This matter was only brought to my attention yesterday. I understand that the budget process has been accelerated this year and decisions are being made quickly.

Should you wish to copy me on your correspondence, please do so.

Thank you.

GTK

George Thomas Kapelos FRAIC
Associate Professor
Department of Architectural Science
Ryerson University
350 Victoria Street
Toronto, Ontario M5B 2K3
T: 416 979 5000 x 6510
E: gkapelos@ryerson.ca
F: 416 979 5353
 

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The link contains details about a meeting today (open to the public) at 6pm at the Board Room of the Toronto Reference Library.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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And TPL is the one aspect of the city that is arguably extremely well run at that. And this is supposed to reflect the new focus on "customer service"??

AoD
 

SimonP

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This branch also serves CityPlace and the Entertainment District, two of the fastest growing parts of the city.
 

GraphicMatt

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On a motion from Janet Davis, they rejected the closure of the branch and are now asking for a 2.6 budget increase for the coming year. It's in council's hand now.

A 2.6% increase represents a flat budget, providing the exact same service levels as last year.
 

jlangdon

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I'm glad to read this. I worried how accessible items I use in their collection might be if it was moved to the Reference Library.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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I am not against conslidating the UF branch somewhere (City Hall comes to mind as a logical choice and a better one than Metro Hall at that, but the site probably has space issues) - the question is how it is done to preserve the accessiblity of the collection, and whether it really saves any money in the end.

AoD
 

fiendishlibrarian

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Needless to say I don't like to see library branches closed, but having said that, consolidation of certain collections in limited branches has long been a trend in other library systems, especially academic. UA is *the* depository library for municipal documents in the city, I've gotten materials there I cannot get anywhere else, so in that sense I'm very concerned not only about access to the collection, but their retention. Library managers almost always sacrifice collections in the name of services, and as far as I know the city has no large-scale digitization initiatives such as is happening on the Ontario level with ODI (Ontario Digitization Initiative). For all the strengths of TPL, their one glaring weakness has been in records retention, as there is a *lot* of things that are hard to get a hold of from them, and I can see this pattern becoming even more pronounced under Ford's tenure. I just hope TPL doesn't use this as an excuse to implement wide-scale weeding of important, if seldom-used, documents. I can see the collection being centred at Toronto Reference, and perhaps North York Centre, with some older materials taken under the wing of archives. The problem *then* becomes a lack of a union catalogue, etc. etc.
 

nfitz

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I'm not sure I see the big deal here.

There are two issues here ... a branch closing, and the urban affairs collection

Wouldn't the collection be more accessible at Toronto Reference? The Toronto Reference library is easier to get to for most people, and has much better hours, particularly on the weekends.

As for the branch closing, isn't the library opening a new branch soon a bit to the southwest?

In terms of picking battles, I don't see that this is one to pick.
 

GraphicMatt

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The new library isn't set to open until 2014ish. At that time, moving the collection and closing the Urban Affairs branch is probably a decent idea. Closing it this year means a significant time period where area residents lack a local place to pick up library holds.
 

Peepers

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The Globe and Mail - which is as anti-Ford as you can get - had a good article explaining why shutting down this Library is not a big deal and in fact the public would be better served if the collection was moved to the main reference Library which is on the Subway and has longer hours (important for students).

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/marcus-gee/finer-points-of-cost-cutting-eluding-anti-fordists/article1862536/

With reference to the post above with the copy of the letter sent out by the Ryerson Professor - I think its fine for a private citizen to voice opposition to this move but a University professor has no business using his office to advocate against this.
 

nfitz

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The new library isn't set to open until 2014ish. At that time, moving the collection and closing the Urban Affairs branch is probably a decent idea. Closing it this year means a significant time period where area residents lack a local place to pick up library holds.
That long away ... holding it open until then makes sense ... though I don't see any need for the Urban Affairs collection to be there
 

Solid Snake

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The Globe and Mail - which is as anti-Ford as you can get - had a good article explaining why shutting down this Library is not a big deal and in fact the public would be better served if the collection was moved to the main reference Library which is on the Subway and has longer hours (important for students).

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/marcus-gee/finer-points-of-cost-cutting-eluding-anti-fordists/article1862536/

With reference to the post above with the copy of the letter sent out by the Ryerson Professor - I think its fine for a private citizen to voice opposition to this move but a University professor has no business using his office to advocate against this.
I don't see anything that makes this unreasonable. They are just moving the collection to Yonge-Bloor and saving over 700 000$ a year. That's really counter productive to block that just for the sake of it...
 

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