Stop John Tory’s Library Cuts

Mayoral Candidate will Improve Library Service and Open All Branches on Sundays

Toronto, October 4, 2022 – Mayoral candidate Gil Penalosa today announced that he would stop John Tory’s newly proposed library cuts and expand Sunday hours to all Toronto Public Library (TPL) branches. Penalosa’s statement is in response to the news that Tory’s administration is requesting a 0% TPL budget increase which, due to inflation nearing 6%, could result in significant service cuts. This is supported by a recent TPL Board report, which explains that “programs are expected to find offsets [cuts] to expected 2023 incremental base pressures.”

“Public libraries are Toronto’s living room. John Tory’s proposed cuts will not be supported by the majority of residents who want to expand the excellent services provided by our librarians,” said Penalosa. “Libraries offer more than books–we must protect the essential services they offer to seniors, newcomers and at-risk youth.” 

In addition to book-lending services, the library offers many essential programs including settlement services for new Canadians, digital literacy programs for seniors and Youth Hubs, which provide mental health counselling, homework help and job skills training for at-risk young people. 

Because of its excellent programming, the TPL has the highest approval rating of any City of Toronto public service. A 2019 survey found that 91% of Torontonians are satisfied with the TPL’s service, with 68% of the population saying they had accessed library services in the previous year. Both TPL users (95%) and non-users(80%) agree that “libraries are an important community resource and a vital community space for bringing people together.”

Penalosa will stop John Tory’s proposed cuts and increase access to the library system by ensuring that all of Toronto’s 100 public library branches will be open on Sundays. Currently, 81 of the Toronto Public Library’s branches are closed on Sundays during the summer, while 44 are closed during the school year. The cost to ensure this equitable access is an investment of only $1.4 million.

“We must ensure that libraries are open on the one day many busy Torontonians have to slow down and spend time with family and friends or just read a book by themselves,” said Penalosa. “The incremental cost of keeping it open for one additional day is worth the social connection, the learning and the belonging that our libraries provide to so many people.”

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