October 21, 2013
Thanks for the heads-up, Doug. I didn't know WorldCat had created a Canadian version, but it is certainly needed, to avoid wading through many pages of US results.
I always have several research projects on the go and have spent a lot of time in various archives and libraries.
AMICUS appears to have been poorly maintained for years but can be useful to at least identify some items that are hard to find, although so many Depository copies were tossed prior to 2017 that it's hard to know whether to laugh, cry or scream. I suppose we will now lose the listings which lack a location.
I follow library news with great interest. Libraries are under threat, no question. St. Lawrence College, part of the Ontario provincial post-secondary system, recently discontinued the position of librarian. There is no professional librarian in any of its 3 libraries. Even at my tiny local branch library, I often need to speak to the actual librarian - who is wonderful.
I could write reams in response to your concerns, but people would rightly complain, so let me just say that your concerns for the future are very valid. I regard libraries and archives as part of our national heritage and of our national defense system, absolutely essential to our self-understanding as a nation.
Unfortunately, it's not just small libraries that aren't in worldcat. I have been using it for a few years and have seen libraries come and go from it. Toronto Public, one of the largest public library systems in the world, if not the largest, left a couple of years ago or more. I don't know the reasoning, but they are not the only one. So, it's helpful but inadeqquate. Fortunately, we still have some regional catalogues in the public system, and an obliging Interloan department.
I just tried out Voila. It's great for narrowing down results to Cdn holdings, formerly impossible with worldcat, but still gives lots of dead hits.
December 17, 2016
I regard libraries and archives as part of our national heritage ...
And I find libraries today, to be totally under utilized and a significant burden to Canadian taxpayers and it is a constant harangue I have with my city councillor - library services need to cease immediately.
NOW, I might be amenable to virtual libraries - music streaming and eBooks - just as long as we get rid of the wasteful bricks and mortar buildings and hard copy books, cds, and dvds and gold-plated unionized staff.
October 21, 2013
Certainly your comments are consistent, Top It Up, and therefore to be expected. I gather your city councillor doesn't pay much attention to you as said councillor seems to require frequent "harangues" through which you inflict your tedious message.
Libraries here are so heavily used that there are line-ups at the door when they open and you can hardly find a seat. Circulation desks are always busy. I don't know what's the matter with yours, or if you ever actually go into them, but an under-utilized library is almost always an underfunded library.
For anyone else who may be reading this, if you starve a library, it will indeed become an unattractive place. If you feed a library, you feed everyone who uses it, and the country benefits.
Thank goodness for the late great Andrew Carnegie, Scottish-American steel industrialist and a man of great foresight, who donated vast amounts of money to building libraries, in the US, Canada, and Scotland, many of which are still functioning. He wasn't fond of unions either, but he understood the importance of libraries in developing a country's potential.
December 17, 2016
Yeah, it's a wonderful thing when you've known your city councillor for over 30 years, known him long before he was a city councillor AND regularly meet for lunch as a foursome, with 2 other friends. By the way, he too is opposed to any and all multi-million dollar makeovers of branch library locations, seeing too the demise.
In many cities there isn't a requirement to renew memberships so it's an unknown statistic of actual current users - hell more Canadians hold passports than library cards. Furthermore, hundreds of titles go dormant within 3-6 months of purchase, after the best seller list phenom wears off - making libraries huge repositories of racks and racks of the now unrequested books. Don't confuse hangers on at the doors, particularly at downtown central locations, as actual users versus costly warming shelters in winter and cooling-off centres in summer.
Ah, it won't be long now - millennials have all but killed off the newsprint business, the periodical business, the evening television news business, and soon the lights will be permanently turned off at city libraries.
It won't be long now.
PS - there are hundreds, if not thousands, of online subscription services to feed YOUR every eccentricity ... STOP burdening the already beleagured taxpayers with YOUR every demand.
October 21, 2013
You really don't know what you are talking about, and I take your comments about you, whoever you are, and your unknown councillor, with a grain of salt. Who knows if this person even exists? But, if you've been hanging out with the same stick-in-the-mud for 30 years, you won't want to know anything that doesn't reinforce your views.
There are, of course, a few people with Stone Age views everywhere, and some of them even get elected. They all seem to hate libraries, and have typically spent very little time in any. I knew some of those guys in high school.
For anyone who really wants to understand the impact of an outstanding public library system, you might want to consult the following:
See particularly the study on economic impact done at University of Toronto.
Good libraries are worth fighting for. As I said earlier, libraries are under threat, and TIU has reinforced this fact.
Anyone who takes the time to actually study all of this will find many interesting items. To name only a few:
*People aged 20-34 are the heaviest users by population, comprising almost 1/3 of the city's population in that age group, and this is a growing group.
* Over 18 million visits to library branches annually.
* positive economic impact on the city of almost $6 per dollar spent.
* while electronic borrowing is increasing relative to physical borrowing (actual books, CDs etc), there are still about five times as many physical as electronic. (Other research, which can no doubt be found by those who want to find it, shows that the digital book market is levelling off and has limited potential, although will continue to be significant)
*and, by the way, memberships must be renewed annually here, and you must show local ID. This is enforced.
Libraries can and do serve a wide variety of functions. They are much more than repositories for musty books. There is always a role in libraries for significant books which are less frequently consulted, but many of these can be held in central locations.
There is a challenge though in the smaller centres which are not able to deliver the same variety of services. I have seen some small town libraries which are nothing short of depressing, with out of date collections. poor lighting, and shabby facilities. I wouldn't go there much either if I lived there.
However, I have also seen some which have risen to the challenge and done a great job serving the needs of their communities. If you have responsible, interested, politicians, and good staff, it's amazing what can be done.
Build it, and they WILL come!
I've likely said all that I can reasonably say on this subject, given that it's way off topic and can't be comprehensively covered here anyway.
September 11, 2013
In my town the main library is avoided by most of us, it's populated by a lot of folks who look like they don't pay much taxes (there are used needle disposal boxes in the washrooms) and the local rag regularly runs stories about kids being exposed to folks watching porn on the publicly-provided computers, which apparently these days is a fundamental human right in progressive Canada. The branch I can walk to is a nice little spot, hardly any people in it usually. That's what I know about libraries.