Library board member resigns following comments by city councillor

London Public Library Masonville Branch. (Photo by London Public Library)

A member of the London Public Library Board has resigned because of comments made by city councillor Arielle Kayabaga during budget deliberations.

Jeremy McCall announced his resignation in a statement on his personal blog Sunday.

He took exception to comments made by Kayabaga, who said that a proposal to cut a program that allowed people to borrow wifi hot-spots from the library was “anti-immigrant, anti-poverty, anti-children, anti-women.” Kayabaga later said that her comments were aimed not at library board members, but rather at the impact of the proposal.

“I openly and wholeheartedly reject her mischaracterization of my actions,” McCall’s statement said. “I am sad that she chooses to overlook the impact of her words on the volunteers behind the business case that was requested for consideration by the council she sits on. I have privately asked her to consider my position and to reconsider her words. In response, she re-sent me the same public statement she issued on January 31st.”

“Councillor Kayabaga was not present for the intense deliberations leading to the creation of the business cases,” McCall added. “She does not know what else was at risk had the wi-fi hotspots not been decided to offer the pursuit of alternate funding if it so pleased council. Councillor Kayabaga does not know what the board members personally pledged to do with regards to the hotspots, or how passionately and strongly they pledged their support in ensuring the service was offered to patrons regardless of funding source.”

McCall, who said he doesn’t think Kayabaga should never have faced a vote which could have led to her expulsion from the remainder of the budget deliberations, said he will continue to support the library but he will no longer give his time to the board “just so that I can be publicly scapegoated by someone who has no idea what I actually said or did or offered to do, and did not utilize a long period of time to reach out to and clarify with prior to making the statements she did.”