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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 19, Number 4, January/February 2007

Free library cards!

The Ministry of Education recently sent out notices to all students in the province offering them a "free" public library card. Coquitlam teacher, Jennie Boulanger wrote the following letter to her MLA:

Dear Diane Thorne, MLA

I am a resident of your constituency and an elementary teacher in Burquitlam’s riding. Please find enclosed a class set of notices given to me today to distribute to my Grade 4 students.

If you could be so kind, please return these to Honorable Minister of Education Shirley Bond. I find it appalling that our precious tax (education) dollars would be spent on such an outrageous piece of (false), self-congratulatory propaganda.

I’m sure that there was at least one BC student not eligible for a free public library card prior to our current government’s probable policy change. What I’m not so sure of is why the money for this lovely letterhead and distribution to probably 500,000 students wasn’t spent on buying library books for schools instead.

Once again, we are subjecting our children to a shameless piece of advertising. "...our government’s way of encouraging you to ...enjoy the gift of reading." Indeed.

Unfortunately, my 10-year-olds didn’t receive these to take home. Instead we discussed how this "news" seemed strange, considering that we have been to two local public libraries already this school year and already had our "free" library cards for some time. Some students brought up concerns about saving our trees instead of using paper needlessly for notices such as these.

Perhaps (if a Spring Session is held) you could bring up some of our future-voters’ concerns in Legislature. Thank you for considering my request.

Jennie Boulanger

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