Margaret Atwood tweets to save Toronto libraries
Acclaimed Canadian author Margaret Atwood has taken to Twitter in an attempt to save Toronto's libraries, appealing for followers to sign a petition opposing cuts to the public service.
Atwood, a frequent user of the social networking site, has in recent days asked her quarter-million followers to vocalize their displeasure with plans to close some of Toronto's 99 libraries and cut services at others.
The idea was raised during a massive review of city services that suggested libraries were among the dozens of places where money could be cut from the city budget.
The review, conducted by consulting firm KPMG, suggested the city "rationalize the footprint of libraries to reduce service levels, closing some branches."
Atwood's appeal began on Thursday, when she retweeted a request from the library workers' union that people sign a petition to save the libraries. A sudden rush of signees briefly crashed the petition's website.
As of Tuesday morning, the petition had more than 24,000 signatures.
Atwood kept up the defensive through the week and later targeted a comment by Coun. Doug Ford, the mayor's brother, which suggested Toronto had too many libraries.
Ford suggested there were more libraries in the area he represents (Ward 2 – Etobicoke) than Tim Hortons. The comment was later debunked by The Grid, a weekly Toronto newspaper.
"Twin Fordmayor seems to think those who eat Timbits (like me) don't read, can't count, & are stupid eh?" Atwood wrote. Twin Fordmayor is an apparent nickname for Mayor Ford and his brother.
This week the Toronto Public Library Workers' Union asked supporters to attend the city's executive committee meeting on Thursday and appeal to save the libraries.
Mayor Ford has also asked residents to attend Thursday's meeting to discuss the KPMG recommendations. He told CP24 on Friday that residents can ask for five minutes to address the executive committee on suggestions made in the core service review.