Q essay: We must protect the public library

Vancouverites catch rays outside the Vancouver Public Library, a place that is much more than a home for books. (B.C. Almanac)

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In today's opening essay, Jian congratulates the three great Canadian library systems that made Heinrich Heine University's list of best libraries in the world -- Vancouver, Montreal (tied for number one) and Toronto (number five).

"That's three major Canadian libraries in the global top five," notes Jian, who argues that we would do well to protect the institutions that have evolved from book repositories to community hubs -- especially when they see their funding cut and value questioned.

"Let's take the time to recognize something that we have in Canada that we don't want to lose. Something we can grow and protect, if we choose," he says.

"As things in our world seem to get more complex, wired, and even isolated, we need public places of learning, access, and invitation more than ever."

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