I love this country. I really, really do. I write often about how fortunate I feel to have been blessed to live in Canada…with abundant resources, accessible healthcare, relative peace and a generally likeable demeanour. Yup…I read those words too and know there is a LOT to be debated, but for the moment, let’s just say I’m proud to be a Canadian. I also really love the library. I love the smell of yet-to-be-discovered possibility. I love the calm and hushed reverence of people deep in thought. I love the look of wonder I see in my daughter’s eyes when she realizes she can take out ANY book she wants…for three weeks (which is kind of like “for keeps”). I especially love that it’s publicly funded and will likely remain that way for a good long time.
And finally, I love to read….blogs, magazines, books. Love it all. Books on the go right now, depending on what my mood calls for: Water for Elephants, Good to Great and Things Fall Apart. All friggin’ brilliant.
What I DISLOVE (hate is SUCH a strong word) is my new-found knowledge that 836,000 blind and partially-sighted Canadians need to count on a charity (CNIB) for library services that us lucky ducks with decent vision take for granted. (Full disclosure…my husband works at CNIB...felt like sharing that).
And while CNIB is doing the best they can with the resources they have (i.e. fund-raised bucks), only 80,000 titles have been made accessible. It costs A LOT to convert to Braille, create audio CDs with accessibility features and manage various digital formats. And Water for Elephants, Good to Great and Things Fall Apart aren’t in the 80,000. Wrong, wrong, wrong. The blind and partially sighted aren’t deserving of reading about Collins’ pivotal Hedgehog concept that will help them become their BEST selves? What the?
Let’s be clear. This rant isn’t about CNIB not delivering enough. It’s about asking our federal, provincial and territorial governments to step up and shoulder the cost to deliver accessible library services for the blind and partially sighted - in much the same way they fund local public libraries. Sweden and the United States get it. Why don’t we?
I may not be overtly political, but injustices do not sit well with me. Reading ought to be an accessible right for all. Period.