Toronto Board politics
I am a retired Toronto Public Library (TPL) librarian (28 years) and past president of the Toronto Public Library Workers Union (TPLWU). Thanks to LJ for the article “Toronto Library Closed by Strike.” The current dispute at TPL has implications for public libraries and library workers across Canada and North America.
I attended most of the recent library board budget meetings…. I listened to board chair [Paul] Ainslie (who is carrying the ball for Mayor Rob Ford) propose staff cuts far beyond the 107 full-time equivalent jobs that were eventually cut…. His more draconian motion failed when even some of the mayor’s most ardent board allies would not risk the public outcry….
TPLWU has become the main defender of public library services in Toronto. The union garnered 55,000 citizen signatures during the campaign to limit library budget cuts that preceded contract negotiations. This struggle to maintain full-time library jobs and to protect a growing number of part-time workers is only a continuation of the decades-long struggle of our overwhelmingly female profession to receive recognition and fair treatment…. These workers deserve the support of all public library users and of the library profession everywhere. They are fighting to protect public libraries even as library boards…are being transformed into political bodies to enact the agendas of conservative politicians….
—Rob Rolfe, Toronto
More than classification
I like Heather McCormack’s take (“Exquisite Informational Immersion: Fusing the Visions of Readers’ Advisory and Technologist Librarians”). The whole “appeal” thing…gets very easily mistaken or dogmatized into…a classification system…. The benefit of that…has been to help people understand that there are all kinds of factors involved in what draws people to the stories they like, almost none of which are present in our classification systems. So I can’t really make sense of the idea that “appeal appears best suited to established genres.” This seems a misuse of the whole idea of appeal (vs. classification)…. All it means is figuring out the reasons someone likes something….
The unsolvable problem with the use of appeal factors…is that they are terms and as such are subjective and slippery. Still, to have so much more finer-grained qualitative data surrounding books, whether it be while searching something like NoveList or Goodreads or, better yet, in our catalogs, is certainly helpful…. Readers’ advisory boosts circulation and/or library usage by helping to establish the library as a place where the reader can expect excellent, responsive customer service, where they can talk about books with people who love to talk about books and [who] might even help them find something to read….
—David Wright, Readers’ Advisory Libn,
So many errors!
Ellen Bates’s review of my book Jackson Pollock (Yale Univ. Pr.) contains so many demonstrable errors of fact and attribution that it is astonishing she managed to fit them into so few sentences (LJ 3/1/12, p. 94).
She asserts that I “base [my] research primarily on information supplied by the artist’s wife, Lee Krasner.” Krasner died in 1984 and hence was unavailable to me when I was writing my book. In my endnotes alone I cite over 50 published works—none by Krasner, who never published anything—and my bibliography contains 83 books and articles. In my acknowledgements, I thank 13 people (art critics, curators, artists, and academics) to whom I spoke at length about Pollock and who are often directly quoted…. Krasner, whom I interviewed…in 1980, is also thanked…but cited as a direct source for exactly one piece of information.
More egregious still, Bates says that I “claim ‘suffering [is now] out of fashion.’ ” I say nothing of the sort myself; I merely quote, disapprovingly—in quotation marks, citing the source in an endnote—a critic who “blithely” (my word) said, “Suffering is no longer fashionable.” (Bates even got the quotation slightly wrong.) Most mystifying of all, Bates accuses me of “go[ing] on a rampage against Pollock’s current relevance….and suggest[ing] that Pollock is both effete and politically suspect, partly because the CIA-funded, anti-Soviet Congress for Cultural Freedom organized posthumous exhibitions of his work to promote American abstract expressionism.” It is impossible for me to understand how she could believe that. Though I report the controversy about the supposedly political uses made of abstract expressionist art…I in no way endorse the views of the pious lefty critics, nor could a single phrase I wrote be construed as such an endorsement. I end the book with a paean to Pollock’s greatness and his continuing relevance, and I never, ever call him, either directly or indirectly, effete; instead, I speak of the explosive energy and dynamism of his work. Bates claims to be “shocked” by my concluding chapter; I am shocked by her entire misrepresentation of my book.
—Evelyn Toynton, UK