Thursday, September 11, 2008

What's the Matter With You Bloggers???

I am astonished at the response of many concerning my comments of yesterday questioning the wisdom of spending $200 million on a new library.
For some reason many bloggers and others have totally misunderstood what I am saying.
I have never suggested that we do not need libraries. I have stated this time and time again. What I am saying is that it is pure folly to spend $200 million on one new library when we have so many other needs which surely should take priority.

The other issue is the question as to why all library services are totally free to the user.
Especially such services as free movies, magazines, newspapers, music DVD’s and video games.
When I point out that a four-year-old can obtain sufficient free movies and video games to keep him perched on the couch every waking moment, but singing up for T-ball or soccer will cost close to $200 several e-mailers respond, “well it’s a pay as you go world!” Yes it is! Except at our libraries.
A four-year-old has to pay $432 to sign up for a City hockey program, but an affluent businessman can get ten free movies every single day!!! From our libraries.
Why is recreation for our children so expense many families cannot afford it, but internet service for the wealthy is free?
Then of course is the fact that while we provide free magazines, movies and video games for people living in half million dollar homes, we don’t have sufficient money to get rid of cockroaches and bedbugs in our public housing units.
One blogger replies, well what assurance do you have that even if we don’t spend the $200 million on a library the bedbugs will be sprayed?
What I am saying is that instead of spending $200 million on a new huge library let us first take a small part of that money and spray for the bugs.
Frankly I am surprised at the lack of intelligence and common sense of so many people who are blogging these days.
I tell you this.
If it was your grandmother’s bed infested with bedbugs, if you had any common decency, you would be screaming at the City to clean her mattress before spending $200 million on a library!!
Or is it lack of common decency we’re dealing with here?


Heather Fletcher said...

Mr. Green, I totally know what you were referring to. I also agree, we have serious issues that need attention in Ottawa. Social Housing conditions, sewage in our water, garbage pickup etc,etc. The need for another library is minimal. With 33 locations...why on earth would we require another one?

So we can have the Guinness World Record for city with the most libraries??? I have no clue why people weren't getting what you were trying to say.

Thermblog said...

People tend to hear what they want to hear. The Ottawa Citizen's Dan Gardner has used his formidable knowledge of psychology to enlighten his readers in several illuminating articles.

(Dan also regularly demonstrates the phenomenon with his biased and often inconsistent positions on certain topics.)

deneb said...

Decades ago when I was a little book worm, I had to pay 25 cents for my library card. Many people went to libraries as there were only 3 channels on TV back then, and Al Gore hadn't invented the internet yet.

The city mandarins have all their priorities mixed up. Whatever seems politically correct or ideologically seductive gets bumped up to the top. Misappropriation of taxpayers money is usually the design of Ivory Tower eletists. Pragmatism is not sexy enough it would seem.

xiz said...

Again, Mr Green suggests that the Ottawa public library lends video games.

They don't.

Why do you keep repeating this untruth?

Jayme said...

I just really don't understand this at all.We have 30 plus library's most are in good shape.But we have 1 main maybe more arenas shutting down.Are they crying saying we need the city to help them out.No there is private groups one beeing jason york that will be funding new arenas.Why can not a private group fund the new library.

xiz said...

So, if I understand Mr. Green's comments, it's not that there isn't a need for a new main library (this would, by the way *REPLACE* the current, dilapidated building on Metcalfe street .. ) it's the pricetag. So what, exactly, would Mr. Green consider a suitable price for a new library building? 100 million? 50 million? $29.95?

Jayme said...

1)Yes they do loan pc games.
2)They could build a very nice library for about $50 million.

Thermblog said...

xiz: here you go - 3 links to games from the OPL. (Go on, you know you want to.)

Anonymous said...

Mr. Green, are you saying that only wealthy elitists are using the public library?!? That's as false a statement as saying you can borrow 20 DVDs at the library in one shot when the limit has been set at 10...

Maybe granny's bed wouldn't be infested with bedbugs if the city didn't sit on millions in provincial funds allocated for social housing for months instead of using it for its intended purposes...try as you might, you can't blame the library for that.

Sandy said...

Mr Green,upon hearing your concerns yesterday regarding the use of taxpayer's dollars to provide "free entertainment" to library patrons, regardless of their income, I thought you might want to know about the following...

If you visit the Greenboro branch (the new South End library), you will find shelves filled with Arab language DVDs and music CDs. As well as many illustrated fiction books aimed at teen audiences in Mandarin. These are obviously there for entertainment purposes and the demand for them seems high.

My question is, should it be the role of OUR libraries, to cater to the language of new immigrants in order to help them maintain THEIR culture. Or should THEY shoulder that financial responsibility. And let our libraries provide literature in our official languages to help maintain OUR culture, and help new immigrants to learn about Canada. Be the way, I'm not opposed to having material in our libraries to teach us about other countries and cultures, but this is clearly not what the purpose of this amount of material is for.

Someone needs to go through the Library budget with a fine toothed comb, there are way too many things being purchased with our hard- earned dollars. No wonder our seniors need to sleep with bed-bugs!

Heather Fletcher said...

xiz: I really understand now why Lowell is so exasperated with people missing his point on this issue. Out of all the points he focused on whether the library lends video games?????? Who the hell cares if they do or don't? The issue is they should be charging for those. Also, another library is indeed the last thing Ottawa needs at this moment. What about utilizing buildings left vacant from amalgamation??? Rather than spending OUR money on a shiny, new library.

xiz said...

My bad ..

Yes, the library does loan video games .. there are a handful listed under the heading 'electronic resource' .. however, so are self-learning CDs, small business resources, and a variety of other items quite consistent with the role of a public library. Yes, I'd question the validity of some of the choices, but IMHO, this in no way invalidates this service, in general.

Heather : Firstly, I find it odd that Mr Green, rather than try to understand why his comments have been taken, apparantly in a manner other than that which he claims to have intended, blames the readers for the misunderstanding and wonders what's 'wrong' with us .. reminds me of the old adage, 'a poor carpenter blames his tools'.

The proposed library would *replace* the old main branch at Metcalfe and Laurier. If you've been inside this building, you'd realize how poorly this building has fared in the years since it's been built. It really is a poor home for such a huge collection as the city of Ottawa has in its posession.

Do you believe that gutting and refitting an older building would be significantly cheaper than building a new one? From my expereince, the cost of renovations can easily eclipse the cost of a new building .. one which would be specifically *designed* to house a library collection.

Heather Fletcher said...

xiz: I understand your point that the library is in a poor state. I also, agree renovation can come with a high price tag. However, if the city uses the land on which one of these "abandoned" buildings rests the cost incurred from purchasing new land would be eliminated at least. I just think with this library project the city is being a little footloose and fancy free with our money. There has to be a significantly less expensive way. There are after all 33 other locations.

Jayme said...

Would you be aginst a arena- library combo.

Sandy said...

To A. Franklin: Your comment concerning the limit of borrowing 10 DVDs per card is correct. However each member of a family, including minor children are entitled to have their own card. So, a family with 5 members could have one person come to the library with all their cards and check out 50 DVDs at the self-check out for free.

Lowell is trying to point out how many problems exist with our current library system and before we give them the approval to increase this spending we should ensure that the funds are well used and appropriate for our city.

artarcher272 said...

You guys are missing the big picture. Before we spend 200 million on a library, which is a luxury, we should get all of the neccessities done first. This is like buying a new car while you can't afford to buy food.
The city is broke. We need to fix this problem before we spend any money on non necessities. Get real you sick loonie lefties. We want to live withing our buget and no more tax increases. Zero means zero.

Marc said...

To "replace" the "dilapidated" building on Metcalfe, should in no way cost up to (and maybe more) 200 million dollars!. Libraries are all nice and good, even needed to an extent; but for reading material. Not movies and games and unlimited internet.
I think that they want that kind of price tag on it to justify another "art piece" for a building, when other priorities are clearly needed.
As Lowell says, money would be better spent on kids sports programs (i.e. soccer, softball, hockey, etc..) which would help kids a) stay fit and b) stay out of trouble.
Everyone's priorities are different, but it seems that the Library issue, and whatever they want to be "free" of use, falls under the category of "culture".
Supporters of this should do what I have to do: when you want something, you pay for it like everyone else.
A reasonable annual fee for library users is completely acceptable and would go a long way to help pay to replace this "dilapidated" building.


djxtreme said...

talk about clueless. It's pretty straightforward what he is trying to say.

Tim said...

Mr Green. I agree with your concerns and it amazes me at how people can take a simple question and completely misunderstand it, both on the air and in this blog! I'll write it out so all understand me; $200,000,000.00 is far too much to be wasted on a library in Ottawa when we already have 33. Maybe dispersing some extra funds to 33 locations for additional books or resources is what is really needed. When our city/region has issues regarding sewage over flow and bed bugs, well let’s spend some of that $200,000,000.00 in those areas!!!

Xiz – Go to and do a quick search for games, you’ll soon find out you are wrong.

djxtreme said...

Lowell, I don't know if you've heard the clip of Elizabeth May calling Candians stupid. It's very clear what she says. It's here on my blog.

xiz said...

Heather :

The 33 other locations you speak of are *branch* libraries, and are significantly smaller than the main branch. The Carp branch, for instance, is a converted engineering shed built originally for the Diefenbunker. The Carlingwood branch is a new building set on a small packet of land just outside Carlingwood mall. The Sunnyside branch is tiny, wedged between a car dealership and the Canal .. *none* of these would in any way replace the main branch.

It's all well and good to say 'There must be a way', but without any concrete suggestions, they're just wishes .. and wishes and 25 cents will buy a phonecall at a payphone.

Have a look at the main Vancouver library sometime .. built over 10 years ago to the cost of over 100 million, and is heralded today as a marvel of architecture. It, too, was cotroversial at the time, but has since proven its worth.

Jaymz : What an odd question. Actually, it's not even a question, the way you've written it.

artarcher : To you, a library is a luxury. To others, say, students, schoolkids, and many others, it's a necessity. I, personally, don't ride the bus, so for me, public transit isn't even a luxury .. it's completely extraneous .. would I be justified in wanting to eliminate public transit for the entire city? I think not.

Anonymous said...

sandy:So, a family with 5 members could have one person come to the library with all their cards and check out 50 DVDs at the self-check out for free.
You have seen this being done? I'm surprised you could spare a moment from monitoring how many immigrants are reading books in a language you can't understand on your dime. How does this makes Mr. Green's claim that someone took out 20 DVDs in one shot, despite the limit being set at ten, any less of a falsehood? And really, why do you or Mr. Green care about the number of items someone borrows, it's not as if for every item borrowed, your taxes get increased exponentially.

The only problem with the current library system is that too many people who don't use the library feel they know what it should and shouldn't be doing, and who it should and shouldn't be catering to.

Heather Fletcher said...

: Again, my point was not necessarily to use the existing buildings on the land but the land itself. At least it would be saving a little money. You mentioned some smaller libraries.However, within the last 5 years Greenboro was beneficiary to an amazing new fairly large library. Large for the community it is in. Honestly, I don't think we need a new library. To reiterate the points others have made, it is not the time, there is not the necessity, and there are other issues that need that money and attention.I'm sorry, I don't see a "warehouse" for books, dvd's etc as important as..bugs in elderly ladies beds,and sewage in our water.

FreedomEngine said...

I find it odd that people who can't read can apparently write. Very odd.

ottawarants said...

1)I have seen in the past where people are permitted to take more dvd's then the limit.

2)I do think the services are good for people who need them.Should someone making $80,000 plus per year taking free moves and games no not a chance.

I bet your the same type of person that says yes the library should offer the free services.Yet alot of parents can not afford to enroll there kids in sports.Should the city not offer some free sports leagues.

tothepoint said...

Bottom line, too much money for a new library. Too many libraries for this size of city.