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LETTER: Kapow! A response to criticism of new library

'Holy hyperbole, Batman! Better get to the library while it's still standing and look up all this,' writes a tongue-in-cheek Virginia McDonald

GuelphToday received the following letter from VIrginia McDonald in response to a previous letter writer's thoughts on a new Guelph Public Library.

Patrick Sheridan's Oct 28 letter warning that the new library will be not only too costly but a “legal Trojan horse” contained some fancy knock-out words that kayoed those baddie councillors and delegates who voted for, or spoke in favour of, the decades-delayed, majority-favoured project.

“Political pyrite?” “Hissing virtue?” “Conceit, narcissism and arrogance?” Wham! Pow! Bang! Batman would be pleased. 

Dark warnings (but no explanation) of a “Trojan legal horse” rolling up to the city gates? Of Guelph sinking like the Titanic under the library as the “tip of a financial iceberg?” Holy hyperbole, Batman! Better get to the library while it's still standing and look up all this.

Except Mayor Cam Guthrie has said publicly that if you have a smart phone, you don't need a library. So it's hard to figure out why, soon after letting us in on this gem during his first term, the mayor enjoyed a photo op of himself reading to kiddies at Guelph Public Library, which is now getting ideas above its station.

The “smart phone” pearl of wisdom brings to mind a similar insight by long ago Ward 1 councillor John Carere, back in 1995 when the library was again on the chopping block. He mused at council whether enough bookstores would simply make libraries obsolete. 

Enter Mr. Sheridan, a Ward 3 also-ran candidate who didn't make it to the horseshoe in 2018 and might be chomping at the bit for the 2022 race. Kudos to him for ripping the scales off citizens' eyes. Here we were, thinking discussion, debate, dissenting views, lots of delegates and majority votes were good for democracy.

Nope. Sheridan says councillors voting in favour did so with an “entitled shrug.”  Don't buy it that councillors haven't spent meaningful time delving into the issue of how the library has been out of date since at least the 1980s or listening to constituents and delegates. Instead, just check out Mr. Sheridan's Oct. 5 letter on the library issue. Read about the “Holy Grail” with “main library Branch Davidians” and “anointed crusaders” who “battle for the very soul of Guelph in their quest to build a great woke cathedral to progressive enlightenment.” All costs calculated using “socialist math” and defended by “wokesters.”  

Holy subversion, Batman! It's true! Libraries are historically hotbeds of knowledge, egalitarianism and democracy, and what could be more dangerous than knowledge in the hands of the great unwashed, especially since it leads to “progressive enlightenment?”

Holy redundancy Batman, isn't enlightenment always progressive? Oops, we forgot, “progressive” is now a pejorative term to dismiss people's views, especially when they question things you rather not think about.

Those curious or confused about Mr. Sheridan's use of  “woke” and “wokesters” to describe supporters of the library project can look this word up to discover it's a slang term “from some varieties of a dialect called African American Vernacular English.” (Holy appropriation Batman!) The term “woke” is “increasingly used as a byword for social awareness” or “alert to injustice in society, especially racism.”  

So there you have it. Steer clear of libraries, even underfunded, ageing ones, and don't push to expand or make them more accessible, lest you end up with a populace more socially aware, alert to injustice, or  worse yet, “woke,” maybe even “woke” to civics. This might encourage more city watchdogs or candidates for office. Librarians who encourage people to read, research or explore have insurrection on their minds. Stay outta there! Instead, just hang around city hall collecting autographs from anyone who votes in favour of your strongly held but unexplored views. 

Besides, if you can't afford a smart phone or computer, or to regularly shell out for books, newspapers, magazines DVDs, CDs, other resources and programs for yourself and your loved ones, don't worry. You can “cry on Instagram” as presidential adviser Jared Kushner said this week.

Stay tuned to the Bat Channel next time, when caped crusaders Mayor Guthrie and allies, egged on by fans, try to save us all from progressive enlightenment, by kneecapping the library at the capital budget talks. It feels safer out there already.

VIrginia McDonald