Sunday, January 14, 2007

When Bricks and Mortar Matter

The venerable Fraser-Hickson is closing January 31st. After 121 years of service to the working-class neighbourhoods of NDG, this privately endowed public library - the first public library in Montreal - is broke. Primarily volunteer-run and community based, a three-year municipal funding agreement dried up in October leaving the mainly Anglo facility in the position of depleting its endowment by $54,000 a month. To stop the haemorrhaging, the Board immediately put the facility up for sale.

As much a community centre as library to the under serviced neighbourhood, the locals are mobilizing through petitions, fundraising and protests (including mp3s) to protect what is collectively viewed as the heart (or 'living room') of their neighbourhood.

For those particularly interested, an excellent audio documentary will be appearing on this CBC website soon.

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