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Speaker featured during Lakeland Library anniversary event

Libraries: Places of mystery and imagination.
North Battleford author Cliff Burns will be a featured speaker during Lakeland Library Region’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

THE BATTLEFORDS — Author Cliff Burns is concerned with the state of literacy and the decline of the printed word.

He has also observed a rise of mindless memes that he says have cheapened human dialogue and destroyed meaningful communication.

Libraries are among the last free, public institutions. More than a repository of knowledge, libraries are spaces to dream, imagine, explore the world, he says. Burns says critical thinking is needed now more than ever in a world fraught with existential crises and unprecedented inequality.

The truth is out there, Burns insists, provided you check your sources and ignore your crazy uncle when he starts raving about “lizard people.”

As part of the celebrations for the Lakeland Regional Library’s 50th anniversary, Burns will be speaking at the North Battleford branch (1392 – 101st St.) on his enduring love for libraries, and the critical role they played in his development as a professional author. He will also be touching on matters relating to censorship, space and the timeless appeal of storytelling.

A longtime resident of North Battleford, Burns has 16 published books to his credit, including Electric Castles and The Definition of Melancholy. Two of his titles have been shortlisted for national independent press awards, and Canadian author Timothy Findley once described Burns’ work as “literary ‘Far Side’ cartoons.”

Burns will speak Sept. 24, starting at 10:30 a.m., to thank the Lakeland Library Region for 50 years of service to more than 30 branches in the area. There will be a barbecue, cake, a virtual reality demonstration and much more.

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. You just have to get people to stop reading them.”

Ray Bradbury