John Williamson M.P. [letters , May 8, 2013], continues to defend the closure of the St Andrews Biological Research Station library, while trying to discredit the SOS [Save Ocean Science) group which has been trying to save the library. Here are 3 of many reasons why I am not convinced.
First, Mr. Williamson tells us that the library holdings of St Andrews and other research stations being consolidated into two libraries [in Nova Scotia and British Columbia]. He sees nothing wrong with this, because these two libraries will "respond to requests on a demand basis just as universities do". This comparison does not hold up. Universities may make library resources available to those who cannot access the library in person. However, universities have physical libraries in which their students, professors and other researchers can physically work. Even in this digital age, who would wish to study or work in a university with no library?
Secondly, Mr. Williamson dismisses SOS (Save Ocean Science) as a "political pressure group", seeking the power of vetoing government decisions. This is misleading. SOS speaks for hundreds of interested citizens who care about government science , the availability of information to the public, and the wellbeing of our waterways and fisheries. Over 600 such citizens formed a human SOS shape in a photo opportunity last summer in St Andrews [a town of 1700]. The issues SOS raises are the issues raised by numerous thoughtful and concerned citizens across this country and beyond.
Thirdly, we have heard that the government is closing biological station libraries, dismantling toxicology/contaminants departments , and the like, in order to save taxpayers money. Why then does Mr. Williamson take pride in the government's spending $60 million of our money on a new facility at our biological station? Especially, why did that new facility include a state-of-the-art library, which will soon- apparently- contain neither books nor librarians?
Jane V. Doull
St Andrews NB
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