Vancouver authors, writers and poets come to Library Square to address striking Vancouver library workers
for Library Workers”
1 pm reading/speaking program
South Plaza of Library Square
Robson and Homer St.
I have only made this program up
this past week…
Terry Glavin was our first speaker, on Tuesday August 14th. Terry addressed pay equity issues, his life experience with strikes and the importance of libraries… and how he had planned to do some research at the library – but couldn't because we were on strike.
Tom Sandborn was our 2nd speaker a week later on Tuesday, August 21st. It was very timely because Tom had just written a piece on CUPE 391's call for pay equity, in The Tyee. Vancouver's Library Strike: Women's Pay on the Line
Tom spoke about the importance of pay equity and how it works. He compared the Vancouver library to other comparative systems. He also spoke about how the media works and how it is important for Vancouver library workers to keep their support strong and write letters to get their views across, and ensure that correct information and perspectives about their contract struggles are presented.
joked that if the library workers settle before next Wednesday, it will
ruin his column for the Vancouver Courier. After speaking to CUPE 391
library workers, he took some pictures of us waving at cars on Georgia
Street, then he reappeared on his bicycle waving to us… and everybody
yelled “Thank you Tom!”
The World Poets wrote original poems and read them to the audience, (l-r) Jan, ??, Alejandro and Ariadne – photo Todd Wong
The World Poetry Society presented poems specifically written for the Vancouver library workers on Wednesday. Ariadne Sawyer and Alejandro Mujica Olea have organized World Poetry Nights at the Vancouver Public Library for over 5 years usually on the 3rd or 4th Monday of each month. Ariadne was one of the first people I called to come speak/read to Vancouver Library workers, as their group is one of many small community organizations that rely on VPL for a venue and adverstising of their events.
The World Poets received heart-felt and appreciative applause from their library worker audience. Ariadne's poem mentioned many of the library workers whom she specifically works with in setting up a World Poetry event at the library. Barbara who does the bookings, Adrienne who does the posters, Paul who presents ideas… It was a very touching tribute. Alejandro closed it up with a passionate fiery speech that implored library workers to stand up for the issues they believe in and not to back down… “because you deserve it!” he cried out.
Ellen Woodsworth gives words of support to CUPE 391, while strike leader Peter DeGroot holds Ellen's bicycle – photo Todd Wong
Ellen Woodsworth, former COPE city councillor, gave words of support to the striking city library workers. I got to know Ellen through her assistance with the Joy Kogawa House campaign and we became supportive friends. Woodsworth encouraged library workers to stay visible, and keep up their campaign – because they are winning public sympathy and public opinon. She urged the library workers to write to city councillors and to newspapers to ensure that their views were included and that correct information was being presented.
Chuck Davis speaks through the make-shift PA system that is Todd Wong's boom-box – photo Todd Wong
Chuck Davis spoke today. He opened talking about the second most stolen book in VPL history, his self-penned reference book The Vancouver Book. He told many funny anecdotes including phoning up the Vancouver Public Library to ask when the first traffic light was installed. “Well… according to the Vancouver Book… it was…” came back the answer.
Chuck told some fascinating stories about how Vancouver history has been recorded, researched and recycled. The library plays an important part of that as a cultural and historical storehouse of information and archives, he told the listening audience. We also joked about how the first strike in CUPE 391's 77 year history will have to go onto Chuck's website: www.vancouverhistory.ca
Stan Persky, is coming on Friday August 24th.
The BC Book Prize winning author of The Short Version: An ABC Book will speak on Friday, August 24th. Stan was one of my political activist role models and College instructors. I
was taking his classes in Political Science at Capilano College when
the Solidarity movement was happening, and I was a member of the
Capilano Courier student newspaper collective. He has also author a book about the Polish Solidarity movement titled “At
the Lenin Shipyard” and the “Solidarity Sourcebook”
Daniel Gowthrop will speak next week on Monday, August 27th.
Gawthrop is the author of Affirmation : The AIDS Odyssey of Dr. Peter, Highwire Act : Power, Pragmatism and the Harcourt Legacy, The Rice Queen Diaries
and also Vanishing Halo: Saving the Boreal Forest. Daniel also works in the CUPE national office. Hmmm… what a coincidence!