Toronto Public... Book-Burning-Place

Some years ago I lived in Toronto's High Park neighborhood. Several blocks away from my house stood the High Park Toronto Public Library. One of the best features of this branch was the huge selection of foreign language books they had. I borrowed them, and I purchased many of those which were discarded and offered for sale. I came every day, just to see what books were for sale, and almost each day I purchased some.

Over the years I bought at this and other Toronto libraries over 2,000 foreign language books, majority of which were / are not available in English. The ladies who staffed the counter knew me by name, they let me know when a larger selection of books was scheduled for sale. One day, one of these women pulled me over to a quiet corner of the kids' section, and told me, teary eyed: the Parkdale Library shredded 5 huge boxes of foreign language books!

I wasn't happy. I made it known. The chairman of the library board at the time might still remember my letter, after all it garnered an apology and an explanation: "it was an oversight". 5 huge boxes shredded by accident? Well, whatever, I got over it.

Recently I visited the High Park library again, in hope of scoring some interesting books that would not be available to me otherwise, what with the attitude of North American publishers toward translations. Imagine how I felt when a young woman at the desk explained why the library no longer offers books for sale, foreign or otherwise: space constraints force them to shred all discarded books!

Heinrich Heine once said: "Where they burn books, they will also burn humans in the end".

Paraphrased it reads: "Where they shred books…"

Below is the monument to the 1933 Nazi book burning at the Bebelplatz, Berlin:

Monument to the May 10, 1933 Nazi book burning: Designed by Micha Ullmann,
empty bookshelves, enough to hold all 20,000 burned books,
visible below the pavement of Bebelplatz in Berlin, Germany.

Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment