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Hope for school libraries (in Ontario, anyway)

Heather Reisman can take a bow today. The Indigo CEO appears to have shamed Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty into promising a major funding boost for the province’s cash-starved school library system.

As The Globe and Mail reports, Reisman has commissioned a short documentary on the crisis in school libraries, and after a press screening of the film this week, McGuinty appeared at a Toronto Indigo store and promised $120-million for Ontario school systems: $80-million to buy books, and $40-million to hire new librarians. The Globe story also notes that Indigo will be supplying the books at cost.

No word on where the documentary might be seen online, but according to the story,

The documentary, which profiles Ms. Reisman’s foundation and the trials of two Ontario schools that applied for grants, includes shots of battered books with broken spines and children forced to share aging texts.

There are interviews with students and children’s author Robert Munsch and tearful scenes with school principals describing the need for more and newer reading materials for their students.

Globe columnist Margaret Wente also writes about the issue in today’s paper. And here are some related stories from the Q&Q archives.