Toronto's Sick Kids Hospital Loses Public Librarian

From The Star: Toronto Public Library is pulling its part-time librarian from the Reading Room at the Hospital for Sick Children.

"We’re worried, but we understand that Toronto Public Library has been hit with a budget that doesn’t allow them to continue their services across the city at the same level,” says Dr. Bruce Ferguson, the hospital’s director of community health systems. “The first thing we (will) do is talk about how we can maintain services for patients and families.”

Sick Kids is one of three Toronto hospitals losing its part-time library staff because of city budget constraints.

The reading room has a collection of 13,500 materials that includes books, CDs and curriculum material that supports schoolchildren from kindergarten to Grade 12. Some Toronto public board teachers work permanently in the hospital, holding classes for students of the psychiatric ward, epilepsy patients, and kids in the substance-abuse program. Teachers also school patients who are at the hospital for more than five days to ensure they don’t fall behind.

“The Toronto Public Library is an incredibly valuable contributor and we will miss that librarian,” said Ferguson. “But we will sit down with our partners and the woman’s auxiliary and volunteer services and figure out how they’ll cope without the part-time staff member.”

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