Shameless self promotion

This is an article I wrote for the Toronto Observer on the Library strike in Toronto, hope you enjoy!

Library strike stirs up some confusion among the public

Having an overdue book from the library is something that many people fear, but what happens when you literally cannot bring the book back?

This was a major question for people when on Mar. 18 Toronto Public Libraries went on strike, shutting down all 98 branches in the city.

With the inside workers for the City of Toronto in discussions about their own strike, this one seemed to come as a bit of a shock to some people.

Scarborough resident Jazmine Scott said she was shocked when she found out the libraries were shut down and was extremely worried about whether or not books that were due would cost extra.

“Currently, [my mom] has two overdue [books] and can’t take them back because the return slots are locked up. [I’m worried that] this will make her have extremely high late fees,” Scott said.

According to the library website, no additional fees will be added to already overdue books, and anything else that you borrowed will not be considered overdue while the strike is ongoing.

The Toronto Library website and media outlets have all been used in giving information to the public, but Scott said that despite what had been done, she still was not fully aware of what was happening.

“I feel that the information was put out for everyone to see, but I think a letter in the mail telling us why and explaining the circumstances would have been very effective,” Scott said. “Not everyone has a computer, and I know they released [the information] over the radio, television and in newspapers, but sometimes an old fashioned letter works too, but that’s just my opinion.”

Anne Marie Aikins, the manager of community relations at the Toronto Public Library said they are giving out information to the public using multiple forms of communication.

“We are providing information and updates to the public through a variety of means,” Aikins said. “Both online and offline: through traditional and social media channels, branch signage, phone messages and especially through our website.”

Aikins said that they are trying to make sure that the public is aware of everything that is happening and strive to make sure that the public is always in the know.

“Even though some of our customers are not on social media channels, ensuring that the information provided on these channels is accurate, timely and up to date helps to spread the word beyond those channels as well,” Aikins said. “[Our] communications strategies are evaluated each day based on public and staff feedback, and are broadened to ensure that the public is fully informed. More communication options will be added if [it is] necessary.”

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