Torontoist: A Spotter's Guide to Endangered Library Branches

Today, Torontoist has published A Spotter's Guide to Endangered Library Branches, highlighting some of the Toronto Public Library branches that are in danger of being cut by City Council. The first branch they feature is our very own Perth/Dupont Branch.

A few quotes from the article:

On page 152 of KPMG's core service review report—which identifies City services that could be cut or reduced for cost savings—is a column marked "Key Opportunities" that contains a single bullet point. "Some library branches could be closed," it says.

Specific proposals for cuts are still a long way off. Thursday night's (and Friday morning's) marathon executive committee meeting was only the prelude to a longer fight that will culminate next year, when it comes time to approve 2012's budget. But if library branches are to be closed, it seems likely that the most vulnerable ones will be those that do the least business.

Perth/Dupont, 1589 Dupont Street
2010 Circulation: 79,683
2010 Visits: 38,463

This is a branch that has gone so long between major overhauls that it still has the pre-amalgamation logo on its facade.

It's a low brick building, situated between Dovercourt Avenue and the Junction. Inside is a single room with four public computers, a reading table, and a children's area. The air is a little musty. During our visit, there are only about 10 patrons inside, but the library is so small that it seems full. Several of them know the librarian behind the counter and call her by her first name.

Potted plants hang from the ceiling, and there's a little courtyard behind the building, visible through its ample rear windows, that has a tree with pink flowers and a little bit of landscaping. The place has the feel of an urban oasis. You'd never suspect it from the street.

Read the entire article over at Torontoist.

This Torontoist article was possibly prompted by Tuesday's press release which listed the TPL branches with lowest circulation.

The timing for these proposed library cuts is most unfortunate. Area residents have been hoping for an expansion at the Perth/Dupont branch for years, and there is finally a strong push to actually move this forward, as a local group is working together with Councillor Ana Bailao to make it happen.


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Library Expansion

The circulation numbers alone are deceptive. Our library circulates more books than it holds (20,000) and is one of the smallest branches in the entire system. The numbers simply match the size and don’t account for the important service the branch provides our neighbourhood.
We need to be discussing how we can meet the demand at this branch by expanding the service offerings. Wouldn't it be great to have more computer workstations, a reading room with chairs or a space in the courtyard for summer reading programs with the kids?
While the talk of library closings is alarming, it creates an opportunity to get people in the neighbourhood engaged in a discussion about what they like about the Perth/Dupont branch and what they want to see in a bigger facility.
If you like the library and want to learn more about how the community can make it better, I hope you will come to the August 16 meeting at 7 p.m. in the library.

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