Hazel McCallion saves Sheridan Library: “…please, spread the news that this library is NOT closing!”
April 17th, 2009
Hey Missy Dudes and Dudettes,
Apologies for not having a fresh Blog since April 14th but there’s just been so much to document/research that there’s simply been no time to report on what’s happening.
To give you an idea of what MISSISSAUGAWATCH has been up to in the data collection department since Monday’s Blog here’s a list.
- Examined the City of Mississauga Corporate Security database (CSIS) as well as analyzing hard copies of their records of bans, trespass, arrests
- Filed a follow-up Freedom of Information request to the City of Mississauga on the Mississauga Corporate Security (CSIS) database.
- Several phone calls to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario (IPC) on two Appeals that I have with them –one going on to adjudication.
- Attended Wednesday’s Mississauga General Committee meeting *groan*
- Attended Wednesday evening’s Future of the Sheridan Library Public Meeting
- Attended a meeting of the Education and Policy Working Group of the Peel Youth Violence Prevention Network
- Visited Peel Board offices to file a Freedom of Information request and was unsuccessful. Freedom of Information person won’t be back til Monday…
Data collection, researching through Freedom of Information and bearing witness to what needs to be witnessed are far more important than regular Blogging.
You’d think that would go without saying. But no.
The Internet is thoroughly polluted with Blogs spouting opinion —the situation made worse by comments to opinion-focussed Blogs spouting opinion from readers spouting their opinions. Far too many Blogs assault readers with hundreds of words before actual supporting documents/data are presented.
The very worst Blogs are 100% opinion.
I can tell you this —consider it a reader alert. As of this week, one more Blog (already toxic with unsubstantiated opinion) has joined our virtual world.
As for MISSISSAUGAWATCH.CA, all I can say is Freedom of Information research continues…
Next. Today’s Blog.
I’ve been observing Mississauga Council since June 2006 and I can’t tell you the number of times Budget deliberations have threatened the Sheridan Library. Cut hours. Cut hours. Cut hours.
Cut hours so much that here’s what Sheridan Library service looks like today (from the mississauga.ca website). Hint: When you scan the hours, think of when kids are in school and parents at work.
NEW! Hours – Winter 2009
Mon 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Tues 3 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Wed 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thurs 3 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Sat 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
There’s a worrisome trend at the City of Mississauga that I’ve already mentioned in previous Blogs. Two years worth of Freedom of Information documents reveal that City of Mississauga Staff aren’t strong on social issues.
Cut-and-pasting from a previous Blog that dealt with cuts to hours of library service, Councilor Saito said it best.
“I guess when I look at the, the hours, or sorry, the libraries that are suggested to be closed for the saving on the Friday evenings and the Sundays.. You know (small chuckle) they’re the four libraries —four of them, Meadowvale, Burnhamthorpe, Malton and South Common. They are probably the four libraries that are in the area of most need.” —Mississauga Councillor Pat Saito (October 15, 2008 Budget Meeting)
Now speaking of areas with most need, we have Sheridan Library. And I have to say I found the presentation by the Mississauga consultant fascinating. For one thing, she used 2004 data. For those who need the Obvious spelled out for them 2004 was five years ago!
The other odd item was the difference of opinion about the needs of the community in the immediate area. The City of Mississauga consultant downplayed the need —that there were other parts of Mississauga more “at-risk”. Then the E.S.L. (English as a Second Language) teacher for the nearby Oakridge Public School, who attended to support his kids, provided data showing that the Peel District School Board identified his school —Oakridge, as Number One in terms of need.
Two studies. Two very different findings. Something is very wrong here.
I suppose that this is as good a place as any to tell readers that in my former life, I taught at Oakridge Public School back in the mid 70’s. Many youngsters were needy back then!
A lot of people attended this meeting to defend the Sheridan Library. But I have to congratulate that Oakridge E.S.L. teacher because he served up data. Facts.
As a result of the information he provided, he’s made it possible for me to file Freedom of Information on various aspects of the Sheridan Library. (I won’t reveal more because I know the minions of evil empire move their lips to this Blog.)
Here’s the bottomline.
Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion has the following message.
“Please, spread the news that this library is NOT closing. “
And I’m only too happy to.
HEY EVERYBODY! SHERIDAN LIBRARY IS NOT CLOSING!
And not only that but just from examining the Mayor’s face during her speech and afterwards, it’s a pretty good guess that she’s going to see that this needy community’s largely new immigrants (and the Oakridge kids) get a library reflective of those needs.
Ward Councillor Katie Mahoney has defended Sheridan Library every single time it was threatened. Afterwards, I even stood in line to speak with her and thank her for the resolute defence she played on behalf of these people. Mahoney squawked every single time. And her last Council squawk made it clear to Mississauga Staff not to bring up the topic of closing again.
Still, a Councillor has surprising little power.
What has guaranteed a brighter future for Sheridan Library is McCallion herself. I’m convinced that the Mississauga Mayor did not know the embarrassing conditions at Sheridan Library. Frankly I had my eyes opened too Wednesday evening as well.
The cramped conditions and aging books sure turned the mississauga.ca News Release, “Service Options Review for the Sheridan Community” into an Orwellian joke.
Down at the very bottom of the City’s News Release. it states:
Mississauga is Canada’s sixth largest city with a population of more than 700,000. With well-established infrastructure and state of the art facilities, the City is considered to be an employer of choice, delivering quality municipal programs and services to its citizens. Mississauga is a dynamic, diverse, and progressive municipality, known for its economic strength and for being Canada’s safest city.
“state of the art facilities”?! STICK IT YOU SPINMEISTERS IN COMMUNICATIONS!
Well, I certainly feel better now…
So here is video of Mayor McCallion’s wonderful address to the Sheridan Library Community Wednesday evening. And the transcript of the video. All for the record.
HAZEL MCCALLION SAVES MISSISSAUGA’S SHERIDAN LIBRARY 090315 (4:16 min)
(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)
TRANSCRIPT Mayor Hazel McCallion Sheridan Library April 15, 2009 public meeting:
Thank you very much and I came to listen. And there are some excellent suggestions put forward.
And I want you to know that your Councillor has protected this library.
And I want you to know that myself and the Councillor and even Councillor Mullin, is concerned about reducing the library hours.
Because I really believe the library, in many years, is the community centre as much as it is, especially for the students.
And you know, today, in order for Canada to be competitive, it is so important that our children get every opportunity to learn more because that’s the only way will remain competitive.
[Apologies, battery change]
The services, by the way, Paul, [Ed: Commissioner of Community Services, Paul Mitcham] that we provide in this library obviously is not adequate. I hate to hear that there’s not enough computers. Today, the children, when they’re doing their research, the computer is such a key to it.
So I heard two things tonight –how the library is stocked. Is it that same as others libraries in the area? I don’t mean all libraries. We DO have the Central Library. And we DO have a district library. And we have a [inaudible] library and therefore they should be all equal, whether the neighbourhood is here or in Streetsville or Erin Mills or wherever it is.
So we heard tonight, there is a need. As I say, your Councillor has protected the library. There was a movement to close it and she stood up and made sure it wasn’t closed.
Now we’re here tonight and Councillor Mullin has joined us.
The library, you know, years ago, when there weren’t community centres and there weren’t arenas and there weren’t all those things, there were libraries. Think about that. There were libraries because that was the key to a community.
And so the library is an extremely important facility in the community.
In regard, I agree with Councillor Mahoney as well, that the library should be located in the right location and that is important as well –to be able to be available to as many people as possible.
Not all –we can’t have a library on every corner –we can’t have a library right next to your house, I wish we could, but we can’t. So we have to choose a good location. And I think your Councillor is well aware of where the library should be.
We will attempt –I will try to negotiate with the owner of this plaza as well. And I would think that the economic downturn and the fact that plazas are not doing as well –and this one, I understand is not doing as well as others and I think that there’s a pretty good negotiating opportunity.
Secondly, we will look at land within this area that Councillor has clearly defined to see if there is. It’s tough to purchase land these days, you know. You can’t force people to sell it to you but we will make every effort.
I know that Paul, our Commissioner here tonight, will bring me up to date on the negotiations that are taking place with the owner of this plaza and I will get involved.
So tonight you gave us some ideas –I think they’re great– I want you to know that we are here to serve you and to serve this community as we try– [McCallion cut off by applause]
So thank you for coming and please, spread the news that this library is NOT closing!
The Mississauga Muse
I was unaware that the young man sitting in the chair to my right was Peter, the person who left an announcement about the Sheridan Library meeting in “About the Mississaugas Muse”. I Googled him and found his excellent summary of the Sheridan Library meeting.
Peter Browne describes himself as a “Peter Browne student. nerd. politics activist” and I encourage you to read his “Sheridan Branch Library Meeting” summary. Clearly Peter is a Blogger committed to informing his readers. He’s actually posted an audiotape of the meeting as an mp3! Audio and video cut through the He Saids and She Saids of differing opinions of what actually happened.
Also please visit Peter’s Flickr site for his photographs of the information slides presented at that meeting.
Last. Here is the Mississauga News article, “Neighbourhood needs its library, residents say”.