Nfld. & Labrador

Library cuts will have 'huge repercussions,' says author Lisa Moore

One of Newfoundland and Labrador's best-known authors says she's shocked by government's decision to close more than half of the province's libraries.
Author Lisa Moore says the province's decision to close more than half of the public libraries is misguided. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

One of Newfoundland and Labrador's best-known authors says she's shocked by government's decision to close more than half of the province's libraries.

Lisa Moore said last week's announcement that 54 of 95 libraries — largely ones in rural locations — would be closing left her "completely heartbroken."

"I was already reeling because the government has decided to be the only province in Canada that has a provincial tax on books, and that just was tremendously painful," said Moore, who was at a rally in St. John's last week to protest a new provincial book tax.

"In rural places, there aren't bookstores and so this is … I just can't imagine how the government has reached this decision and I am deeply hopeful they're going to change their minds."

To close libraries is an attack on people who can't afford books.- Lisa Moore

Moore said the impression she has gotten from the announcement is that libraries can be replaced via the internet — something she said is misguided.

"When you grow up with those books in your living room and in your bedroom, that is a different kind of cultural life. You're inspired to take something down and look at it, hold it in your hands, and that is how we have a cultural life. It's not the same as going on the internet," she said.

"And to close libraries is an attack on people who can't afford books. People can go to libraries and get books for free."

'Destroying' support for writers

Lisa Moore says the province's literary community will rise up against government's decision to tax books and close half of the public libraries. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

She added taking away resources for the province's literary community is a mistake.

"I can remember when my book Open came out in 2002. Around that time, there was a headline in the Globe & Mail that said, there's something in the water in Newfoundland because there are all these writers coming out of the woods. And what was 'in the water' was support," said Moore.

"Support for the arts, support for writers, government support, a recognition of how important culture is — and this government is just destroying that support, and there will be huge repercussions."

As for her response to government, Moore said she realizes there are cuts that need to be made to address the province's financial situation, but cutting libraries is not the way to do it.

"There are so many parts of this budget that need to be fought, but a budget when it's released is an experiment and I think when the government releases it they understand there's going to be a response," said Moore.

"We know that there have to be some cutbacks, but these are not intelligent cutbacks, and I know that the literary community is going to rise up against this."

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