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Mitzie Hunter issues four-point plan for stronger libraries, better communities

 Libraries strengthen our city, mayoral candidate says

Toronto – Mitzie Hunter, mayoral candidate, has issued a four-point plan for stronger libraries and better communities.
Hunter’s plan has the following four key elements:

·       Creating more safe places for young people.
·       Support for the most vulnerable
·       Help close the digital divide
·       Extend Sunday service from 11 am through 5 pm

“Our libraries strengthen our society,” says Hunter. “Public libraries are really community centres and we can and should build upon the incredible services already offered to everyone including young people, seniors, newcomers and refugees and our lower income people.”

Here is how Hunter’s plan works:
More safe places for our young people: We will open 16 new Youth Hubs that offer welcoming drop-in places for teens after school and in the summer, to bring the total citywide to 40.
Support for our most vulnerable: 
We will build on the success of pilot programs offered by the TPL and use our libraries as community hubs for my Housing Support Program that doubles Street Outreach Programs and supports five Housing Outreach Program Collaboration teams. We will pursue partnerships with community agencies to distribute free supports to vulnerable Torontonians.
Help close the digital divide: 
As Mayor, I will use our existing municipal assets to create a ConnectTO, which will be a municipal broadband network that encourages competition to lower prices for all and provides low-cost internet services to high-priority communities. We will also distribute 1,000 free Internet Connectivity Kits of laptop and hotspot each year and work with the Toronto Public Library Foundation (TPLF) to encourage donations to support another 500 Kits each year by matching donations made to the TPLF. I will also double the Seniors Digital Literacy Program to improve seniors’ digital literacy and enhance connectedness.
Extend Sunday service from 11 am through 5 pm: 
All libraries will be open on Sunday for six hours including ones currently closed. Toronto has thousands of students and this will mean students can study, do research, and get a leg up working on projects and assignments on Sunday. Families can also take advantage of programs together which might be challenging to access during the work week.
These enhancements would cost $29.18 million over two years and will be drawn from the Public Library IT Asset Replacement Reserve Fund and the Library Development Charge Reserve Fund.
“Toronto has perhaps the best public library system in the world,” says Hunter.
“The public library of today is about more than books. It is in fact a truly remarkable network of 100 branches that each serve as a door to knowledge, community and vital support for everyone in our city. Making our libraries stronger and more accessible is a great investment that results in a better community.”