So I was listening to CBC Radio today, and heard a tidbit on the news that made my jaw drop. Apparently Canada Post wants to hike their Library Book Rate, which currently sits (if I’m reading this right) between about 81¢ and $1.74 (plus a weight charge), to—sitting down?—$14.00. That’s roughly a 1000% increase. Madness, I tells ya.
This would be disastrous to the small libraries in the countryside, which are usually running on a shoestring budget at the best of times. I worked in one*, one summer, and I put through a lot of interlibrary loans (ILLs). Hell, I put through a lot for me. The collection just wasn’t big enough, and the acquisitions budget was not nearly large enough either. I was a voracious reader (and still am), and ILL was a blessing for me. The nearest halfway-decent** bookstore was half an hour away, and the nearest good bookstore was two hours away at highway speeds. And this, mind you, was before the Web existed, never mind became a household item, a staple of daily life much like television or radio.
Now that I live in the province’s second-largest city (with a burgeoning population somewhere between 40,000 and 50,000), I still have cause to take advantage of ILL. I don’t do it as often, but I’ve ordered books that were only available in Winnipeg’s collection, and I seem to recall one coming in from Thunder Bay once.
So I’ll be sending an email to Canada Post, letting them know what I think of this proposed rate hike. But rather than go off half-cocked, based on what I heard on the radio (
and can’t yet find on CBC’s website ^^^see above^^^), I’ll do some more research, compose my thoughts, and write something coherent and thoughtful. If you’re Canadian, and give a rat’s ass about the accessibility of reading materials, I suggest you do the same. No, strike that; I urge you to do your research, and if I’m not totally off base here, write a missive of your own, and let Canada Post know that their idea sucks hard.
In a little protest of my own, I went to my local library today, and took out two books: Going Postal by Terry Pratchett, and Chateau d’If by Jack Vance. The former was a pleasant surprise to find on the shelves; as for the latter, well, my writing has been compared once or twice to Jack Vance (Scott, I seem to remember you saying that), so I might as well see if I’m close.
Wow, that was windy. I’m exhausted. Time to do some PHP coding…
* Wow, they’ve got a website now. When I worked there, the head librarian was such a technophobe that she wouldn’t even consider bringing a computer into the library.
** To stretch a definition.