Canada Post and Library Books

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.

Found a link to the sto­ry

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.

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