Toronto Public Library branches are frequented by a million patrons each year, over 70% of Torontonians have a library card and TPL’s 80 per cent-plus approval rating makes it among the most loved public services in the city. So it’s a bit of a wonder that only recently did a blog for Toronto Public Library fans get underway.
Launched by self-described “curmudgeon” and occasional Spacing gadfly Joe Clark, Fans of Toronto Public Library started March 4, 2009. Clark, who has a penchant for finding cause in the things most take for granted (or, frankly, don’t care about at all) — TTC signs, subway station tiles and fonts to name three, writes that he began TPL Fans because he decided he wanted to work on a “positive and uplifting project for a while.” His intention is to focus the majority of his words on the things he likes about TPL, though possibly only until summer when Clark says he may shut down the blog all together.
Of course I write this as a Spacing contributor pointing out a new venue to read about and discuss 99 of Toronto’s best public spaces. But I also sit on the Toronto Public Library Board so I’m thrilled to see a forum that raises the profile of TPL and encourages contructive dialogue about its most dedicated users’ experiences in the branches.
However, much as I like to read about Joe’s love for his local Jones branch or his post about the unmatched value TPL offers residents (he estimates he received $6,000 worth of service from TPL last year), I hope he’ll include a dose of his unique grumbling about the things few people notice in TPL branches. Great as TPL is, like I’m sure many Library staff will, I’ll be keeping an eye on the blog to see what ideas Joe and commenters put forward to improve the library system.
If you think you want to write for Toronto Public Library Fans, Clark invites you to contact him.
Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler is a member of the Toronto Public Library Board. The opinions expressed in this post are those of the writer and do not represent those of the Toronto Public Library Board.
Photograph by Royal Rivers.