On Libre ex Libris

Book sharing is part of the ancient tradition of story telling where a person would pass on some pertinent lore, lesson or just entertainment to others by recounting what they themselves had heard from another story teller at some stage.

This has always been with us as an integral part of what has catalyzed societies from whenever man could speak and lives yet today, although for the last couple of thousand years we have found ways to write these stories down and share them in printed form as well as verbal.

I am happy, therefore, to see my books starting to be taken up by libraries where this sharing of stories among societies can continue. Does it bother me that it also means people can read my books without paying me anything for them? No! I believe the sincere writer is not writing purely for financial gain (although that aspect obviously is useful) but if they have a story to share the important thing is that it be shared, and libraries are a great way for that to occur.

It saddened me recently to hear of huge funding cuts to the Toronto library system for that can only damage the ability of that community to share stories, particularly with those who cannot afford to buy the books. In an ironic twist it is often those who cannot afford to buy them that most need the inspiration, the learning, the entertainment, the shared stories that they find in libraries. By reducing the capacity of libraries the government is damaging that societal catalyst that has been with us since first we could do more than grunt. If libraries want to put my books on their shelves so people can access them for free, that is fine with me, for I am a firm believer that (particularly today!!!) we need to be contributing to the reinforcement of societal catalysts, not their depletion.