Progressive Librarians Guild Toronto Area Chapter

Posted on by Anna St. Onge

This is a casual meeting, and all are welcome, especially people in town for OLA.

When: Friday, January 30th, 8:00 PM

Where: We'll be meeting at C'est What  located at 67 Front Street East. C'est What does not take reservations, so we'll have to take our chances on getting a table.

How: If you are new to PLG-GTA, we'll be monitoring the twitter feed for people looking for directions.

Posted on by Anna St. Onge | Posted in Communication

Comments Off

Posted on by lisa

The Progressive Librarians Guild (Greater Toronto Area Chapter) call on Joe Murphy to drop the $1.25 million lawsuit against our colleagues, nina de jesus and Lisa Rabey. Open and constructive dialogue around all the issues relevant to sexual harassment in our profession and in this particular case would be preferable and more useful than taking punitive legal actions. Using the legal system to attack Rabey and de jesus serves only to circumvent necessary discussions and further discourages victims of harassment from speaking out. It creates a chill and it traffics in fear and the asymmetry of patriarchal power. This case is an abhorrent reversal of the core values of the library profession to foster open, free and public dialogue around social issues. We also ask other librarians, librarians' associations, and other thinking people to support our colleagues, either by donation, sharing information, writing statements of support, and/or signing the petition. More information on #teamharpy can be found here and here.

Posted on by lisa | Posted in Uncategorized

Comments Off

Posted on by plggta

"...the #freedaleaskey collection [is] a web document, and social media archive containing news coverage, conversations, and letters of support surrounding the lawsuits filed by the Edwin Mellen Press against McMaster University's Dale Askey. These lawsuits, filed in June 2012, center around a 2010 blog post that Dale made criticizing the quality of scholarship published by the Press.
This archive stands as an important document in exposing and preserving this case in the public memory, and helping to ensure that this particular instance of aggressive legal action in the service of squelching free speech can serve as a teachable moment for anyone who values the intellectual freedom of librarians. The fact that it was made by librarians and archivists, using the traditional tools of librarians and archivists, stands as a testament to how important it is to preserve not just these documents, but our right to continue to do what we do..."

From introduction by Steve Marks, President of OLITA
(Ontario Library and Information Technology Association)


The PLG GTA was incredibly honoured to receive the Les Fowlie Intellectual Freedom Award from the Ontario Library Association for the #freedaleaskey Collection, a collection of public statements, publicly available press releases, blog posts, letters of support, online comments and more ephemeral elements related to the #freedaleaskey campaign that developed as a response to court proceedings filed by publisher Herbert W. Richardson and the Edwin Mellen Press against academic librarian Dale Askey in June 2012 and his employer McMaster University.

To be clear, it is our firm opinion that Dale Askey  deserves this award more than we do. His unwillingness to back down, his continued defence of academic freedom and freedom of expression, against what we consider a strategic lawsuit against participation by Herbert Richardson and the Edwin Mellen Press was, and is, absolutely inspiring. But, if he can’t have it, we might as well explain why we have done what we have done. The heart of the matter is this: we did this because we believe this is what we are supposed to do.

We believe that as a profession, both as librarians and archivists, we cannot, as Brien Brothman has cautioned, "abstain from cultural awareness and criticism"; to do so would be, in his words, "tantamount to professional irresponsibility."1 We started documenting, capturing and preserving what we saw happening online because we felt it was an important moment in time for our profession, and we didn’t want to lose evidence of the wave of support that rose to Dale Askey’s defence.

We are deeply humbled by this award and the public recognition of our work.  We will view it as encouragement from our peers to continue to advocate on behalf of the profession and our shared values of freedom of expression and public access to information.


  1. Brien Brothman, “Orders of Value: Probing the Theoretical Terms of Archival Practice” Archivaria 32 (1991): pp.78-100; p. 92.

Posted on by plggta | Posted in Communication

Posted on by plggta

Deputation to Toronto City Council Executive Committee
Re: Toronto Public Library Budget

November 29, 2013

Councillor Ainslie, Honourable members of the Executive Committee, Nancy Marshall

The PLG-GTA is submitting this deputation to urge the City of Toronto to renew your commitment to the Toronto Public Library. Please demonstrate your support for this popular and valuable service by voting against any proposed service or budgetary cuts.

The Progressive Librarians Guild is a group of Toronto-area library workers who are concerned with social justice and equality issues. The group is a new voice in the Canadian library community seeking to influence progressive dialogue and political action in our communities and associations. Our members work in different types of libraries across the city and at different levels within organizations, a diversity that has allowed us to gain perspective about the repercussions of cuts on library users, workers, and management. While we understand the challenge of allocating budgets to the neglected infrastructure of other important services, any cuts made to the TPL will have far-reaching repercussions beyond the library walls.

The public library is the first place many newcomers to the city seek out when they need resources and information. The public library is a place where those who are unable to afford or access technology can write cover letters and apply for jobs. Libraries provide an environment where neighbours and strangers can exchange ideas, cooking tips, or legal advice. It is a place where those who do not feel safe or wanted are accepted, where they can access information services and programs. What other place does all of these things? For everyone. For free.

We urge the City of Toronto to continue its investment in the great intellectual infrastructure that is North America’s busiest library system.  The Toronto Public Library system boasted 19 million visits a last year, and had the highest circulation and visits per capita when compared to other large urban systems such as those in New York and Los Angeles. With this kind of profile and activity it is clearly a key resource for the citizens of Toronto.

Please approach the upcoming budget negotiations with the intention to preserve the library system as a vital resource for residents of our city.

The Progressive Librarians Guild, Toronto Area Chapter


Posted on by plggta | Posted in Uncategorized

Comments Off

Posted on by Jacqueline

We're trying out a more casual meeting style this time. There is no agenda, so please come prepared to talk about a topic that interests you (or at least your willingness to hear from others on their topic)!

When: Thursday, October 24, 6:30 PM

Where: We'll be meeting at the Duke of York Pub in Yorkville (39 Prince Arthur Avenue). Our reservation is under PLG.


Posted on by Jacqueline | Posted in Communication

Comments Off

Posted on by plggta

We call for the immediate release of Professor John Greyson and his colleague Dr. Tarek Loubani from custody in Egypt. It is our belief that their arrest was motivated at least in part by Professor Greyson’s film footage of the events in Cairo that day, and as a profession committed to freedom of expression and freedom of speech we find the silencing of these two important Canadians to be deeply troubling.

Prof. Greyson was arrested in Cairo on his way to make a film in Gaza with Dr. Tarek Loubani, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, Ontario. Dr. Loubani has for the last two years conducted an academic and medical collaboration between Western University Hospital’s emergency department and the al-Shifa Hospital, the main hospital in the Gaza Strip. This project has seen Canadian doctors train Palestinian physicians in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS and Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS). With each visit Dr. Loubani has brought witnesses to observe conditions in Gaza1. This year he invited Prof. Greyson. On arriving in Cairo on Friday, August 16 they found the border to Gaza shut. They were arrested the next day while asking for directions at a police checkpoint, after providing medical assistance to wounded and dying Egyptians. These men should be celebrated for their heroism, not beaten and incarcerated.

We are respectfully asking the Egyptian authorities to release Prof. Greyson and Dr. Loubani. We thank Minister Baird and Prime Minister Harper for their efforts to date, but also urge the Canadian government to intensify their efforts to get these two Canadian citizens released and home to their loved ones and communities, of which they are a much valued part. We join with faculty associations, professional associations, student associations, and cultural organizations in calling for every diplomatic effort possible to free Dr. Loubani and Prof. Greyson. The unlawful detention of any Canadian, or any person at all, is unacceptable.

For updates on the situation please visit FREE TAREK LOUBANI & JOHN GREYSON or follow John's sister, Cecilia Greyson, on Twitter. For those wishing to help, here’s how.


1. Global News report


Posted on by plggta | Posted in Statements

Comments Off

Posted on by Jacqueline


PLG Edmonton's Third Annual Symposium - Organize and Assemble III
2013 Theme: Precarious Labour

While the new economy is often celebrated for possessing increasing flexibility ('work at home,' 'be your own boss,' 'set your own hours') the reality is that 'flexibility' has been stressed to obscure the increasing precariousness of labourers.  The flexible economy is best characterized by the decline of stable full time employment forcing workers to respond to a new reality where unemployment, underemployment, temporary work, outsourcing and downsizing are the prospects for a larger number of workers - ranging from students and recent graduates to veteran employees who have been deemed dispensable in the competitive, global economy.   Precarity has been a particular mark of the information professions, where labour is less reliant on huge investments of fixed capital (such as factories) and can be done largely with low cost information and communications technologies anywhere, anytime.The Progressive Librarians Guild (PLG) - Edmonton Chapter invites practitioners, scholars, activists, students, and other members of the general public interested in library, archival and allied information services to submit proposals for its third annual symposium, Organize and Assemble III, taking place in Edmonton on Saturday, October 26, 2013. This one-day refereed event will provide an interactive forum for the identification and exploration of contemporary issues of access, equity and social justice as they connect with and disconnect from the rhetoric and reality of library and archival studies and services locally and globally.

For this year's symposium, we are especially seeking submissions related to the theme of “precarious labour.” Possible topics include but are not limited to:

Services to communities resulting from precarious labour conditions

• temporary foreign workers

• programming

• resources

Precarious labour within the information professions

• unemployment

• temporary/contract work

• unpaid internships

• unionization

• austerity measures

• freedom of speech in the workplace

• occupational health and safety issues

Intersections of race, gender, precarious labour and information

Labour history of the information professions

Precarious labour and higher education (library school, academic librarianship etc...)

Where to find information about precarious labour

Please submit proposals (not to exceed 500 words) for individual and group contributions (e.g., papers, debates, round-tables, critiques, panels, posters, exhibits, manifestos, performances, mini-workshops, socially responsible merchandising) via email to plg.edmonton at by midnight August 30, 2013.

The PLG supports progressive and democratic activities in the area of information services and the Edmonton Chapter's Program Committee will review all submissions that recognize (or challenge!) this stance and the PLG statement of purpose more broadly: 

Deadline for proposal submissions: August 30, 2013

Notification of acceptance will be sent out no later than September 6, 2013.

Posted on by Jacqueline | Posted in Uncategorized

Comments Off