LETTER: Libraries the great equalizer

Libraries are so much more than lenders of books. They bring members of a community together to sing songs with their babies, brainstorm ideas for new businesses, learn new languages and become more technologically savvy.

Local libraries can be great equalizers, providing access to information and tools that wouldn’t otherwise be available unless you have them at home, from the Internet to 3D printers, historical newspapers to the latest DVDs. They should be close enough for those without cars, or working more than one job, to access easily; for young children to walk to with their preschool and kindergarten classes; for seniors to visit even if they no longer drive; for parents pushing babies in strollers, some with an older sibling straggling along beside; and for older kids to walk to on their own after school.

A library more than two kilometres away is not a neighbourhood gathering place. It doesn’t make the neighbourhood more walkable, or provide a destination where we can easily gather without spending $4 on coffee.

On January 17th, I will be asking city council to include funds in the 2019 City of Victoria budget to begin planning for improved local library services in Hillside Quadra, Oaklands and North Park. Over 1,300 Victoria residents have already signed the Victoria Needs a Hillside Library petition, encouraging council to start the planning process. You can find out more at HillsideLibrary.ca.

Jenn Neilson

Victoria

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