I have something to say to Mike Del Grande and Cesar Palacio

And it’s this: “Go fuck yourselves.” These politicians are trying to censor materials at the Toronto Public Library.

Only Toronto could be run by philistines who think 100 copies of one movie they want to prevent the public from borrowing justifies ridding the system of cinema and periodicals. That is actually what’s been proposed – and it could still happen!

  • Mike Del Grande, Toronto Star, 2011.11.29:

    Councillor Mike Del Grande, responding to the furor over proposed cuts to library hours, told reporters Tuesday that library users can access new releases like Pirates of the Caribbean at any of the [library’s] 98 branches.

    “Should the city library become a Blockbuster?” Del Grande said.

    Blockbuster closed its Canadian stores in two stages starting last summer. Rogers Video will close 63 stores coast to coast.

    Mike Del Grande is a man who grew up poor and wants to impose that same kind of privation on everyone else even in a time of budget surplus. Del Grande was hurt growing up, and, by God, everyone else is gonna feel his pain.

  • Cesar Palacio, a city councillor who is actually on the TPL Board, dared to propose the library rid itself of “popular” DVDs and all magazines. (He claims to mean “popular” magazines, but since Palacio believes the only purposes of a library are “literacy and library purposes” [sic], he really means all of them.)

So: Two city councillors, one of them a boardmember, want the busiest public library in the world to be stripped of cinema and periodicals. And it could still happen under proposed budget cuts, which, I infer, have been intentionally crafted to be reachable if magazines, DVDs, and all forms of literacy and outreach programming were eliminated.

But anyway, isn’t all this just “common sense”? The Toronto Public Library, which right-wing politicians don’t even use, really is overrun with Hollywood product and other “trash.” Isn’t it?


Last year, the library added 570 English-language DVDs

Maybe Mike Del Grande can’t run a computer (“I don’t have a BlackBerry personally. I operate on a $23-a-month phone”), but I can.

I downloaded the complete list of circulating English-language DVDs for adults added to the system last year. It’s 570 titles. (Run the search yourself and the number is 571, but I believe the odd one out is spurious. Generally this list includes titles released in 2011, not necessarily filmed or copyrighted in that year.) Barely any of them are Hollywood movies: There are more fitness titles than Hollywood entertainment product, by my count. Oh, and which version of Jane Eyre would you like to watch? (There are at least three just on one bookmobile.)

Of course I am not suggesting there are too many of any category of movie, including American films. (And the idea of removing magazines from a public library is too stupid to dignify.)

Inspect the list yourself. (Spellchecked, paper-edited, and often fact-checked, the list’s titles are quite accurate.) Then try to make the case the library is wasting money on movies you personally think nobody should be allowed to watch. And don’t just stop at the letter B: Page through the whole list.

  1. Abbott and Costello Show: Who’s on First?, The
  2. Adjustment Bureau, The
  3. Adventures of Merlin: The Complete Second Season, The
  4. After the Wall: a World United
  5. Afterlife
  6. Ageless with Kathy Smith: Staying Strong
  7. Aki Kaurismäki’s Leningrad Cowboys
  8. Alias: The Complete Second Season
  9. Alias: The Complete Third Season
  10. Alias: The Complete Fourth Season
  11. America, America
  12. An American Family
  13. Antony and Cleopatra
  14. Any Human Heart
  15. Apocalypse: World War II
  16. Arabia
  17. Arbor, The
  18. Art of Getting By, The
  19. Arthur
  20. At the Edge of the World
  21. Athens: Mother of Western Civilization
  22. Atlas: Uncovering Earth
  23. Attack the Block
  24. Bad Teacher
  25. Bananas!
  26. Barney’s Version
  27. Battle for Haiti
  28. Battle: Los Angeles
  29. Bears of the Last Frontier
  30. Beastly
  31. Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest
  32. Beautiful Boy
  33. Beaver, The
  34. Becoming Chaz
  35. Bedlam: Season 1
  36. Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo
  37. Beginners
  38. Being Human: Complete First Season
  39. Being Human: Season Three
  40. Beneath Hill 60
  41. Best Food Ever
  42. Best of Travel: South Africa
  43. Best of World Cruises
  44. Bethany’s Skinnygirl Workout
  45. Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On
  46. Better Life, A
  47. Beyoncé Live at Roseland: Elements of 4
  48. Beyond Limits
  49. Bhutto
  50. Big C: The Complete First Season, The
  51. Big Cats Collection
  52. Big Love: The Complete Fifth Season
  53. Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son
  54. Bill Cunningham: New York
  55. Billy Budd
  56. Billy’s Bootcamp: Cardio Sculpt
  57. Birds of the Gods
  58. Black Butler: Season One, Part One
  59. Black Butler: Season One, Part Two
  60. Black Death
  61. Black in Latin America
  62. Black Moon
  63. Blackthorn
  64. Blast! Balloon-Borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope
  65. Blow Out
  66. Bob Harper: Beginner’s Weight Loss Transformation
  67. Bob Harper: Totally Ripped Core
  68. Bobby Fischer Against the World
  69. Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season
  70. Borgias: Season One, The
  71. Brain Games
  72. Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season
  73. Breaking News Breaking Down
  74. Bridesmaids
  75. Brilliant Moon: Glimpses of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
  76. British Royal Weddings of the 20th Century
  77. Britney Spears Live: The Femme Fatale Tour
  78. Buck
  79. Burlesque
  80. Buster Keaton: The Short Films Collection, 1920–1923
  81. BUtterfield 8
  82. Call Me Fitz: The Complete First Season
  83. Calling: Seven Lives, Four Faiths, One Call, The
  84. Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff
  85. Camille
  86. Can We Live Forever? New Technology for a Longer Life
  87. Can We Make It to Mars?
  88. Captain America: The First Avenger
  89. Captains, The
  90. Carbon Nation
  91. Carlos
  92. Carnival of Souls
  93. Case Histories
  94. Casino Jack
  95. Cave of Forgotten Dreams
  96. Cedar Rapids
  97. Celtic Crossroads: World Fusion
  98. Centerville Ghost, The
  99. Change-Up
  100. China’s Terracotta Warriors
  101. Christian Traveler, The
  102. Christopher and His Kind
  103. Cirque du balle
  104. Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer
  105. Client List, The
  106. Colombiana
  107. Colony
  108. Company Men, The
  109. Con Artist
  110. Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop
  111. Conan the Barbarian
  112. Cosmos: A Beginner’s Guide, The
  113. Country Strong
  114. Cowboys & Aliens
  115. Crazy Stupid Love
  116. Cropsey
  117. Custer’s Last Stand
  118. D.Gray-Man: The Complete Second Season
  119. Damages: The Complete Third Season
  120. Dangerous Intimacy: The Untold Story of Mark Twain’s Final Years
  121. Dare to Cook: Chocolate: Holiday Confections with “Chocolate Man” Bill Fredericks
  122. Dark Days
  123. Dave Grohl: The Man with the Midas Touch
  124. David Holman’s Diary
  125. Daydream Nation
  126. Deadliest Earthquakes: Haiti and Chile
  127. Dear Uncle Adolf: The Germans and Their Führer
  128. Death Masks
  129. Debt, The
  130. Delphi: Center of the World
  131. Despair
  132. Devil’s Double, The
  133. Dexter: The Fifth Season
  134. Diana Rigg at the BBC
  135. Dickens in America
  136. Dilemma, The
  137. Discoveries: Vietnam Historic Treasures
  138. Dive!
  139. Doctor Who: Series 6, Part 2
  140. Downton Abbey
  141. Dracula: The Vampire and the Voivode
  142. Drive Angry
  143. Dylan Dog: Dead of Night
  144. Eagle, The
  145. Earth from Above
  146. Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World
  147. Effective Communication Skills
  148. 80 Waves
  149. Elsa’s Legacy: The Born Free Story
  150. Elusive Justice: The Search for Nazi War Criminals
  151. Engineering Ground Zero
  152. Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season
  153. Erasing David
  154. Essential Pépin
  155. Everything Must Go
  156. Exhale: Core Fusion Cardio Pure Intensity
  157. Experiencing Hubble: Understanding the Greatest Images of the Universe
  158. Exporting Raymond
  159. Extraordinary Minds: Featured Guest, Jacques d’Ambroise
  160. Extraordinary Minds: Featured Guest, Zainab Salbi
  161. Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition: The Workout
  162. Facing Death
  163. Faith & Doubt at Ground Zero
  164. Fambul Tok
  165. Fast Five
  166. Finding Life Beyond Earth
  167. Fire in Babylon
  168. Firm: Turbocharge Weight Loss
  169. First-Class Ticket: The Complete Doug Jones Travelogue Collection
  170. First Person Singular: I.M. Pei
  171. First Response CARE CPR
  172. Fly Away
  173. Food Fighters: Back and Forth
  174. For Colored Girls
  175. Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie
  176. Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate
  177. Forks Over Knives
  178. Four Lions
  179. Freakonomics
  180. Freedom Riders
  181. Friends with Benefits
  182. Fright Night
  183. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood: Part 5, Episodes 53–64
  184. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood: Part 4, Episodes 40–52
  185. Future, The
  186. Gashole
  187. Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould
  188. Get Fit & Fab
  189. Get Low
  190. Gettysburg
  191. Glee: The Concert Movie
  192. Globe Trekker: The Netherlands and Amsterdam 2
  193. Glorious 39
  194. God Bless Ozzy Osbourne
  195. Going Postal
  196. Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition
  197. Greatest Movie Ever Sold, The
  198. Greely Expedition, The
  199. Green Hornet, The
  200. Green Lantern
  201. Guard, The
  202. Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench
  203. Hail the Conquering Hero
  204. Haiti: Triumph, Sorrow, and the Struggle of a People
  205. Hall Pass
  206. Hangover, Part II, The
  207. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
  208. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
  209. Heavenly Creatures
  210. Heifetz Master Classes
  211. Help, The
  212. Hempsters: Plant the Seed
  213. Here We Are in the Years: Neil Young’s Music Box
  214. Hereafter
  215. Heritage of British Monarchy: A Chronicle of History, Romance and Scandals
  216. High Cost of Living, The
  217. Highwater
  218. Himalayas, The
  219. Hindenburg, The
  220. Hiroshima
  221. Hobo with a Shotgun
  222. Horrible Bosses
  223. Host in the Bleak Midwinter
  224. Hot Coffee: Is Justice Being Served?
  225. Houdini
  226. Hour, The
  227. How Smart Are Animals?
  228. How the Universe Works
  229. How to Get Ahead in Advertising
  230. How to Sell on eBay: Windows 7 Edition, Part 1
  231. How to Sell on eBay: Windows 7 Edition, Part 2
  232. Hubble
  233. Human Experience, The
  234. Human Planet: The Complete Series
  235. Human Services Careers
  236. Hurry Sundown
  237. I Am Number Four
  238. I Gong for Self-Healing
  239. Iceman Murder Mystery
  240. Idiots & Angels
  241. Imagine It!
  242. Immortal Beaver: A Celebration of Aviation History
  243. In the Shadow of No Towers
  244. In Their Sleep
  245. In Treatment: Season Three
  246. Ingredients: The Local Food Movement Takes Root
  247. Inside Hana’s Suitcase
  248. Insidious
  249. Insignificance
  250. Inspector Lewis: Series 4
  251. Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking
  252. Irena Sendler: In the Name of Their Mothers
  253. Israel vs. Israel
  254. Jackass 3
  255. Jane Eyre [Fukunaga]
  256. Jane Eyre [White]
  257. Japan’s Killer Quake
  258. Jerusalem: City Between Religions
  259. Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story
  260. Jig
  261. Jillian Michael’s Extreme Shed & Shred
  262. Joe Madison’s War
  263. Joel Harper’s Self-Defence
  264. John Muir in the New World
  265. Joke: The Lost Bullet
  266. Journey of the Bonesetter’s Daughter
  267. Journey to Mecca: In the Footsteps of ibn Battuta
  268. Jumping the
  269. Just Go with It
  270. Justified: The Complete First Season
  271. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never
  272. K-19: The Widowmaker
  273. K-On! 1
  274. K-On! 2
  275. Kate & Leopold
  276. Kathryn Budgie: Aim True Yoga
  277. Keeper of the Flame
  278. Kegs
  279. Keith Richards: The Human Riff
  280. Kennedys, The
  281. Kids Grow Up: Letting Go Is Hard to Do, The
  282. Kill the Irishman
  283. Kill/Capture
  284. Killer Buns and Thighs
  285. Killer Queens: Five Ruthless British Queens
  286. Killers, The
  287. King Speaks, The
  288. Kiss Me Deadly
  289. Kissinger
  290. Koop: The Art of Wanda Koop
  291. Land Girls
  292. Land Girls: Series 2
  293. Lark Rise to Candleford: The Complete Season Four
  294. Larry Crowne
  295. Last Exorcism, The
  296. Last Mountain, The
  297. Last Night
  298. Last Play at Shea, The
  299. Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven
  300. Legends of Flight
  301. Les Misérables in Concert: The 25th Anniversary, Live
  302. Leslie Sansone’s Walk Your Way Thin: Walk It Off & Tone It Up
  303. Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home: Burn Body Fat & Sculpt Your Arms
  304. Let Me In
  305. Life in a Day
  306. Life of Leonardo da Vinci, The
  307. Light Speed Nutrition: Diet and Health Management
  308. Light Speed Nutrition: Food Spectrum and Nutrients
  309. Light Speed Nutrition: Foundations of Human Nutrition
  310. Limitless
  311. Lincoln Lawyer, The
  312. Little Fockers
  313. Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders
  314. Looking for Fidel
  315. Loop Diver: The Journey of a Dance
  316. Lost in the Amazon
  317. Love & Other Drugs
  318. Loving Lampposts: Living Autistic
  319. Luther 2
  320. Mad Men: Season Four
  321. Madagascar: The Land Where Evolution Ran Wild
  322. Made in Dagenham
  323. Making Stuff
  324. Managing Menopause Naturally
  325. Margin Call
  326. Married in a Year
  327. Marvin’s Room
  328. Meaning of Life: Perspectives from the World’s Great Intellectual Traditions, The
  329. Mechanic, The
  330. Memento
  331. Memory and the Human Lifespan
  332. MI-5: Volume 8
  333. MI-5: Volume 9
  334. Michael Jackson: The Life of An Icon
  335. Middle Men
  336. Midnight in Paris
  337. Midsomer Murders: Set 18
  338. Midsomer Murders: The Dogleg Murders
  339. Mikado, The
  340. Miracles of Nature: Extreme Habitats
  341. Miracles of Nature: Unique Island Destinations
  342. Miracles of Nature: Unique Travel Destinations
  343. Missionary, The
  344. Moby-Dick
  345. Moguls & Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood
  346. Monogamy
  347. Monsters
  348. Monte Carlo
  349. Mora
  350. Morning Glory
  351. Mr. Nice
  352. Murdoch Mysteries: Season 3
  353. My Run: The Terry Hitchcock Story
  354. My Vietnam, Your Iraq
  355. Naruto Shippuden
  356. Nature of Cities, The
  357. NEDS: Non-Educated Delinquents
  358. Never Apologize: A Personal Visit with Lindsay Anderson
  359. New Sudan, The
  360. News in Review: February 2011
  361. News in Review: March 2011
  362. News in Review: April 2011
  363. News in Review: May 2011
  364. News in Review: September 2011
  365. News in Review: October 2011
  366. News in Review: November 2011
  367. Next Three Days, The
  368. Night Flight
  369. Night of the Generals, The
  370. 9500 Liberty
  371. No Strings Attached
  372. No Tomorrow
  373. No Woman, No Cry
  374. NORML Life: The American Marijuana Revolution, A
  375. Nothing Personal
  376. Oliver Sherman
  377. One Day
  378. 101 Games and Activities That Teach Leadership and Teamwork: Vol. 1, Trust and Innovation Games
  379. 101 Games and Activities That Teach Leadership and Teamwork: Vol. 2, Cooperation and Communication Games
  380. 101 Games and Activities That Teach Leadership and Teamwork: Vol. 3, Initiative, Tenacity and Goal-Setting Games
  381. 101 Games and Activities That Teach Leadership and Teamwork: Vol. 4, Adaptability, Affinity and Reflection Games
  382. One-Week Job
  383. Oprah: The Past, Present, and Future
  384. Optimizing Brain Fitness
  385. Orgasm Inc.
  386. Our Idiot Brother
  387. Page Eight
  388. Page One: Inside the New York Times
  389. Panorama Finals 2011
  390. Paul
  391. Pearl Jam Twenty
  392. Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway, The
  393. People vs. George Lucas, The
  394. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
  395. Planet Evolution
  396. Plastic Planet
  397. Pompeii: Back from the Dead
  398. Power Surge
  399. Power Workout
  400. Prehistoric: Predators of the Past
  401. Price of Sex
  402. Priest
  403. Priest of Love
  404. Prohibition
  405. Prom
  406. Public Speaking
  407. Questions for Crazy Horse: Hypothetical Conversations with the Strange Warrior of the Ogalla Lakota
  408. Quickfix ℞ with Jill Miller: Kneehab: Improve Knee Health and Prevent Injury
  409. Rabbit Hole
  410. Radiohead: Life on Demand
  411. Rebirth
  412. Red Like the Sky
  413. Red Riding Hood
  414. Red State
  415. Rejoice & Shout
  416. Remembering 9/11: A Day That United the World
  417. Reminiscing in Tempo
  418. Remote-Control War: The Future of Unmanned Combat
  419. Resident, The
  420. Return of the Ghost Ship
  421. Revolution in Cairo
  422. Ricky Gervais Show: The Complete First Season, The
  423. Ripped in 30
  424. Rise of Humans: Great Scientific Debates, The
  425. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  426. Rite, The
  427. River Why, The
  428. Rodney Yee’s Daily Yoga
  429. Romantic Englishwoman, The
  430. Roommate, The
  431. Royal Wedding of a Lifetime, The
  432. Royal Wedding William & Catherine, The
  433. Rubber
  434. Russell Peters: The Green Card Tour
  435. Salmon: Running the Gauntlet
  436. Samantha Brown’s Asia
  437. Samurai
  438. Sanctum
  439. Sarah’s Key
  440. Saving the Ocean: Shark Reef and the Sacred Island
  441. Science Now: How Does the Brain Work?
  442. Scream 4
  443. Sculpt & Burn Body Blitz
  444. Season of the Witch
  445. Secret Access: The Vatican
  446. Secrets Beneath the Ice
  447. Secrets of Christianity
  448. Secrets of the Dead: Slave Ship Mutiny
  449. Secrets of the Dead: World’s Biggest Bomb
  450. Secrets of the Divine: The Altarpiece of Ciudad Rodrigo
  451. Shaman & Ayahuasca, The
  452. Shameless: The Complete First Season
  453. Shipping News, The
  454. Shock Doctrine, The
  455. Six Feet Under: The Complete First Season
  456. Skin
  457. Skins: Volume 4
  458. Small Act, A
  459. Small Town Murder Songs
  460. Smartest Machine on Earth: Can a Computer Win on Jeopardy?, The
  461. Smiley’s People
  462. Social Network
  463. Something Borrowed
  464. Something Wild
  465. Somewhere
  466. Sons of Anarchy: Season Three
  467. Soul Surfer
  468. Source Code
  469. South Riding
  470. Spartacus: Gods of the Arena
  471. Special A: Complete Collection
  472. Speed of Life
  473. Spill, The
  474. Start Walking at Home: 1 & 2 Mile
  475. Stitch Heaven Salutes Barbara G. Walker
  476. Stonewall Uprising
  477. Storming Juno
  478. Straw Dogs
  479. Streetcar Named Desire, A
  480. Striking Truth
  481. Submarine
  482. Submarine: Hidden Hunter
  483. Such Good Friends
  484. Sucker Punch
  485. Sugar Ray Leonard & Laila Ali: Lightweight & Heavyweight Workouts
  486. Summer Wars
  487. Super
  488. Super 8
  489. Survivors of the Firestorm
  490. Susan Sontag’s Promised Lands
  491. Switch, The
  492. Sympathy for Delicious
  493. Tabloid
  494. Take Me Home Tonight
  495. Takers
  496. Tale of Two Cities: The Circuit City Story
  497. Tempest, The
  498. Teotihuacan, City of the Gods
  499. Textuality
  500. These Amazing Shadows: The Movies That Make America
  501. Third Reich, The
  502. Third Wave, The
  503. 30 Minutes Or Less
  504. Thor
  505. Through the Wormhole
  506. Through the Wormhole: Season Two
  507. Top Secret America
  508. Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls, The
  509. Topsy-Turvy
  510. Transcendent Man
  511. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  512. Travel with Kids: Jamaica
  513. Travel with Kids: Scotland
  514. Tree of Life, The
  515. Tree, The
  516. Triangle Fire
  517. Tron Legacy
  518. True Blood: The Complete Third Season
  519. Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family
  520. UFOs and Aliens
  521. Ultimate Guide: Dolphins, The
  522. Ultimate Wave Tahiti, The
  523. Uncle Bob
  524. United States of Tara: The Third Season
  525. Unknown
  526. Unknown War: War and the Epic Battles of the Russian Front, The
  527. Unloved, The
  528. Untold Secrets of the Civil War, The
  529. Upstairs Downstairs: Series One
  530. Upstairs, Downstairs
  531. Venom: Nature’s Killer
  532. Vidal Sassoon: The Movie
  533. Vietnam in HD
  534. Waiting City, The
  535. Waiting for Hockney
  536. Waiting For “Superman”
  537. Waking the Dead: The Complete Season Five
  538. Wallenberg: A Hero’s Story
  539. War of 1812, The
  540. Warehouse 13: Season Two
  541. Warrior
  542. Wars of the Roses: A Bloody Crown, The
  543. Wartorn 1861–2010
  544. Waste Land
  545. Water for Elephants
  546. Way Back, The
  547. When I Rise
  548. When Rome Ruled
  549. Where Did We Come From?
  550. White Water, Black Gold
  551. Whitechapel: The Ripper Returns
  552. Who Really Discovered America?
  553. Wikisecrets
  554. Wild Target
  555. Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest, The
  556. Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up?
  557. William & Kate: Planning a Royal Wedding
  558. William S. Burroughs: A Man Within
  559. Win Win
  560. Windmill Movie
  561. Wishful Drinking
  562. Witchcraft: Myths and Legends
  563. Wonders of the Universe
  564. Worst in Show
  565. Wrong Side of the Bus
  566. X-Men: First Class
  567. You Again
  568. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
  569. Your Highness
  570. Zookeeper

Bonus photo

Here is one face of the bank of shelves on the fourth floor of the Reference Library that hold 4,200 mostly educational DVDs you can borrow.

Sun-lit shelving unit, six layers deep, runs the length of a floor

So yeah, Pirates of the fucking Caribbean proves there’s a problem here, one that can only be solved by scorching the earth.