Below is the text of the Union's letter sent today to the City Librarian with a copy to the Toronto Public Library Board
Re: Room Booking at Palmerston Library
We are in receipt of your October 12 and your October 15 emails to all staff concerning the upcoming room rental by Meghan Murphy for the presentation “Gender Identity: What does It Mean for Society, the Law and Women?”
It is our opinion that the stated purpose of this room booking, “to have an educational and open discussion on the concept of gender identity and its legislation ramifications on women in Canada” is disingenuous, to say the least. Meghan Murphy has made her negative views towards the trans community and other non-binary equity-seeking groups very public.
Your October 15, 2019 email asks that attention be turned away from the room booking issue and redirected to civil debate with the speaker’s ‘ideas.’ However, while Murphy may not have been officially charged with hate speech under Canadian law, her views do, in fact, target highly vulnerable and marginalized communities not only in our workplace, but among library users in Toronto and beyond.
Recent TPL public consultations with equity-seeking groups on how to make the library more "welcoming," inclusive, and relevant ring hollow if the very people they seek to validate are ultimately alienated by the real decisions and actions that run counter to purported values of equity and respect.
The work that staff have done to reach out to community members, and to build trust and partnerships, has now been compromised to some extent by this decision. For many, the library might no longer represent a safe and inclusive space.
We do ask that the Toronto Public Library reconsider its decision to allow this room booking to proceed.
This October, vote for equity and inclusion, good jobs, pharmacare, retirement security and climate action. Take action at canadianlabour.ca. Text FAIR to 343-800-1413. Let's elect a government that will tackle climate change, create good jobs, implement a public pharmacare program, build a stronger public pension system, and promote and celebrate diversity and inclusion.
Library Workers joined the massive Climate Strike at Queen's Park today! What an event - so many creative signs - and such positive energy from Torontonians demanding climate action now!
Word on the Street was a very successful day for the Toronto Public Library Workers Union. We had many supporters visit our booth - and there was much support for our campaign against staffless libraries.
It was wonderful to engage directly with the public - who share not only their support for public libraries but for the people who deliver the service. Our speaker's corner video booth attracted many visitors - and many participated in our group reading of the Staffless Library poem. Our free kite giveaways for children was a big hit - and we saw the kites soaring around the event! Thank you to all our volunteers and to the WOTS organizers who helped make this sunny day such a great event. See you next year!