Dear Toronto Public Library:
I'm that woman who puts all kinds of books on hold and forgets to pick some of them up. Sorry. Also, I like paying your fines. Charge me double. And as hard as I try, I sometimes can't read a brand-new book in three weeks. Apologies to whoever had to wait for Ann Patchett's Tom Lake. I know what you're thinking, 'that was not a big book.' September was busy in my world. Again, this is an opportunity to extract more cash from me. I'm down for it.
I heard your system's been hacked. And it won’t be back up and running until sometime in the early new year. I'm sending you all the good vibes. When you recover, I'll be in the great race to greet you.
This week, my mom's computer and phone were hacked for the second time. Last year was scary. We learned some hard lessons together and at a distance. Thankfully, this time it was minor.
I get mad when people and institutions I love are attacked by brutal cyber criminals. I hope soon we'll get serious about dealing with the sinister individuals behind it. Doing hard time should be the cost for targeting seniors, the vulnerable, and institutions that serve the public good.
One thing I can't get down with is an attack on knowledge. We are up to our necks in that these days. Stupid is not cool.
My mom lives outside of Calgary, and every week, a volunteer from the library brings a stack of new books to her senior's residence. They call her on Thursday and come around on Friday. It makes my heart light up.
We talk about what she's reading often — what a pleasure. She's only discovered reading in the last couple of years and is in hot pursuit of lost time.
We did a daytrip to Calgary in 2018 with a few of her friends to see the new library. Is there a more gorgeous building in all of Canada right now? The spirit of the city is in it. Snøhetta was an imaginative and bold choice for architects. If there was a Michelin Guide for libraries, it would be three stars. It's a destination. I hope to return for a visit at the end of this month.
If I sound jealous, remember I live near the Toronto Reference Library. An exquisite public space. A cathedral of democracy. Working in it is a dream. Raymond Moriyama was the local architect. He passed this year and left a beautiful legacy in this city, country, and far beyond. Watching this TVO documentary of his life is an hour well spent.
"I must instill the idea of using architecture to express a potential hope for all of us," Moriyama said.
Some would like to see libraries torn down. At heart, that's what a hack is. The same goes for municipal budget cuts. Politicians and their sycophants throw up barriers to prevent the spread of knowledge. Hire hackers. Stupid is cool to a few.
There's great need everywhere (including at home) during this holiday season. But if you can give a local library is an excellent choice. More dollars can go some way to increase online security. Our collective intelligence, a repository for culture, needs protecting.
December is the month when I light candles on my desk at dusk. I keep the blinds up after dark to watch the car lights snake along Bloor St. during rush hour.
I've visited Lyon, France, several times and have a dream that one day, I will be there for the Fêtes des lumières in December. Also, to taste Reynon’s magnificent pâté en croûte, l’Oreiller de la belle Aurore.
When we turn toward the sun again on December 21st, it's a day for celebration.
The honey voice of Roy Orbison. I've been dancing in my kitchen to this song. Music, like reading, is a refuge. It engages my imagination. Makes me feel things. Mostly alive.
© Deborah Reid, 2021 - 2024. All Rights Reserved.