• About Farm School

    "There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live."
    James Adams, from his essay "To 'Be' or to 'Do': A Note on American Education", 1929

    We're a Canadian family of five, farming, home schooling, and building our own house. I'm nowhere near as regular a blogger as I used to be.

    The kids are 18/Grade 12, 16/Grade 11, and 14/Grade 10.

    Contact me at becky(dot)farmschool(at)gmail(dot)com

  • Notable Quotables

    "If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
    William Morris, from his lecture "The Beauty of Life"

    "‘Never look at an ugly thing twice. It is fatally easy to get accustomed to corrupting influences."
    English architect CFA Voysey (1857-1941)

    "The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out; and, after an era of darkness, new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men’s hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead."
    Clarence Day

    "Anyone who has a library and a garden wants for nothing."

    "Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtile; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend."
    Sir Francis Bacon, "Essays"

    "The chief aim of education is to show you, after you make a livelihood, how to enjoy living; and you can live longest and best and most rewardingly by attaining and preserving the happiness of learning."
    Gilbert Highet, "The Immortal Profession: The Joys of Teaching and Learning"

    "Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment."
    Walter Wriston

    "I'd like to give you a piece of my mind."
    "Oh, I couldn't take the last piece."
    Ginger Rogers to Frances Mercer in "Vivacious Lady" (1938)

    "No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem."
    Booker T. Washington

    "Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member."
    Attributed to Groucho Marx in "The Groucho Letters" by Arthur Sheekman

    "If you can't say something good about someone, sit right here by me."
    Alice Roosevelt Longworth

    "If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, we feel all our hard work ain't been in vain for nothin'."
    Jean Hagen as "Lina Lamont" in "Singin' in the Rain" (1952)
  • Categories

  • Archives

  • ChasDarwinHasAPosse
  • Farm School: A Twitter-Free Zone

  • Copyright © 2005-2016 Please do not use any of my words or my personal photographs without my express permission.

Shockingly Provincial

What’s that saying about giving with one hand and taking away with the other?

While I was delighted that the same-sex marriage bill finally became law this week, I was distressed to learn yesterday that Canada Post, one of our Crown corporations, is proposing to eliminate the Library Mail Rate, also known as the Library Book Rate, first established in 1939. If Canada Post gets its way, the rate would jump next April from under $1 for each book to as much as $14 each. This is progress?

The huge rate increase will, of course, come as a tremendous blow to rural libraries and their patrons. Especially those patrons who are home educating. Our family orders in hundreds of books every year by interlibrary loan (ILL), because our small town library has an exceedingly limited selection.

I suppose I wouldn’t be as upset about this if the jump wasn’t so dramatic, and if Canada Post’s library rate didn’t include only books; in fact, until 2003 we were able to get audiovisual materials by ILL, but that came to an end because the Library Mail Rate includes only books and Alberta libraries couldn’t afford the usual unsubsidized postal rates. Canadian readers might be surprised to learn that down south, the U.S. Postal Service not only has a special Media Rate, once (and sometimes still by old-timers) called Book Rate, including books as well as “film, manuscripts, sound recordings, videotapes, and computer media (such as CDs, DVDs, and diskettes)”, but also has an even further discounted rate just for libraries. How ’bout that? If anything, we’d like the Library Mail Rate extended, not cut back. That, my friends at CP, of which I as a taxpayer am a shareholder, would be progress.

Typically, Canada Post is spinning this as a “good business” decision. According to a CP spokeswoman, maintaining the special library book rate isn’t efficient: “The bottom line is: we are a business and it is our mandate to operate as a business so that we are not a drain on the taxpayers.” She added that CP would lose $13 million a year if it continues to offer libraries the subsidized rate. However, Don Butcher, executive director of the Canadian Library Association, pointed out that “A $13-million project in a multibillion-dollar corporation … isn’t a whole lot of money.” Making another good point, Mr. Butcher said that CP’s legislation “also says that [it has] a duty to a public or a social good, so it’s well within their mandate to continue a special rate for libraries.” Hmm, libraries as a public or a social good. What a very novel idea!

What to do? Talk to your librarian, write to your MP, notify your small town newspaper (ours never seems to know about news until after it’s happened), and tell your bookloving friends. A letter to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Hon. Liza Frulla, can’t hurt, either; after all, some of us actually ILL books about Canadian heritage and history. I might even plump for a stamp and send her a letter by Canada Post, just to make more of an impression. In addition to that, I’m also going to join the board of our local library. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while — I’m already on the Friends of the Library board for fundraising — but was having trouble finding the time. With Canada Post’s new salvo, I’ll have to make the time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: