Letters to the editor

Here are some of today’s letters to the editor of the Victoria Times-Colonist.

Save the library

Times Colonist
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

It’s truly astounding that a premier who promotes literacy would consider closing the legislative library. While I understand the space shortage, the voraciousness of wanting it for parties and receptions just because it is beautiful is repugnant.

The library should be preserved as a heritage site.

Pieta VanDyke,
Victoria.

Library’s documents cannot be in storage

Times Colonist
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My father worked in the legislative library for 28 years, the later years in charge of government documents. Part of his work (and other of the staff) was to supply reference material to the MLAs during sessions, no matter how late an hour the house ran.

Opposition members could check on what was promised in former sessions and all could look up laws, etc. There is a serious reason for its existence. It is not simply a collection of fictional works.

I cannot understand how our elected members can have so little appreciation of the value of the library. The books of a library should be in the library, not in a warehouse across the street. This is supposed to be a government that promotes education. A library is a depository of knowledge as well as works of the imagination.

Does Speaker Bill Barisoff really expect a staff member to go out in the dark, possibly in the rain, and retrieve an item from some area on Superior Street? Has he really considered the logistics of retrieving material?

Reference librarians have special training to find material. Not everything is on the Internet. Perhaps this is a case of “spending a day in someone else’s shoes.” What is the government thinking?

The parliament buildings exist for the governing of our province, not so that a few select politicians can have wine and cheese parties.

Joyce Harrison,
Victoria.

No vanity spaces for our MLAs

Times Colonist
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The plans for the legislative library sound ominously like the government’s earlier intention of moving Victoria’s Land Registry to New Westminster without credible regard to why it shouldn’t be. Luckily the First Nations stopped it.

Librarians who know the usefulness of their work and the diligence effect of a library atmosphere convenient for users don’t have that clout. For citizens, the quotes of former head librarian Joan Barton on the lack of space planning ring true.

Given the level of citizen distrust of government motivation shown in its recent “Conversation on Health” session, what is the standard for the government’s public accounting for its library intention that allows sensible challenge?

It should honestly state its intention, who it thinks would benefit from the intention, how they would benefit and why they should in the manner intended; and who it thinks would bear what costs and risks and why they should — both immediately and in the longer term.

No intention advances until knowledgeable people have publicly challenged the premier’s assertions and have had them audited for their fairness and completeness, including the dollars. It’s not a Speaker decision; it’s the executive government’s.

The increased number of MLAs may well mean new efficient offices, but they don’t need to create vanity space.

Henry McCandless,
Victoria.

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