Losing and gaining what I love: the library
Discussing the CAQ’s choice to finally open up study spaces in municipal libraries
When I first started university, the library was essentially my second home.
I would go to school early, go to the library and get as much work done as possible. I would frequent the rows upon rows of books and borrow them for all the papers I had to write. The library was a source of structure and a way I could ensure I would get my work done. When the pandemic happened libraries closed, it made staying motivated with my school work more challenging.
During the summer restaurants could reopen, as did cafes, but libraries were still limited to loan desks only. This was disappointing to me because I valued my trips to the library. It frustrated me that entertainment was accessible again, but reading and education was not.
When I heard Premier François Legault say municipal libraries would now give access to study rooms for people, I was completely caught off guard. I didn’t understand why this wasn’t done during the summer when other places were allowed to open during a lockdown.
What restaurants, cafes, the SAQ and the SQDC have in common is that they make money. Libraries are a place of education, but to me, it’s clear money matters most for the government. If education was deemed essential for the Quebec government, then safe study spaces should also be essential as they are crucial for the success of so many students.
The lack of initiative of the Coalition Avenir Quebec to not open libraries sooner highlights that perhaps education was not as much of a priority as I initially thought.
It seems as though the government forgot the role that outside places play in our education.
Last semester I was pregnant and being confined at home was hard. While walking around may have been hard, having a change of scenery and a place to go to would have been nice.
Last semester I was pregnant and being confined at home was hard. While walking around may have been hard, having a change of scenery and a place to go to would have been nice. I felt confined even more because I didn’t want to harm the life I was responsible for. Something as simple as a library space to study would have helped me feel less stressed than I was. Having a study space in a library would have made things easier on me. I would have felt more balanced, and I would have had the chance to go somewhere that I love to be. It would have allowed me to compartmentalize my life.
With the increase of being home, and the lockdown, people’s mental health is something that keeps being discussed, but not much is being done to help.
Having the ability to leave the house, and having a small sense of normalcy, would have helped me.
Unfortunately, it taking so long for this to be an option highlights that mental health is once again not at the forefront for this government.
I am happy the CAQ made this decision, however, I cannot shake the disappointment that it took so long.