After weeks of public outcry, the Sask. Party government is restoring funding to libraries in the province
April 24, 2017 12:30 pm
Funding levels for regional and municipal libraries will be brought back to 2016-17 levels, meaning they will be getting $4.8 million beyond the $3.5 million they received in the budget when it was released on March 22.
The funding will allow the intra library loan service to continue. Libraries said that would be one of the cuts following the province’s original budget, which saw 58 per cent less funding going to them.
“Premier Wall has always said that we would be the kind of government that would admit of mistakes and then fix those mistakes,” Education Minister Don Morgan said in a statement. “There were many necessary, difficult decisions taken in this budget, however the reductions in library funding without giving libraries the tools to meet the new challenge was as mistake. So today I am announcing restoration of library funding as well as a consultative review with the Saskatchewan libraries and municipalities to determine the way forward in terms of what is best for library users and communities as well as what is also financially responsible.”
Funding for the Pahkisimon Nuyeáh library system in Northern Saskatchewan remains consistent with last year’s funding level at $974,000.
“The decision by Minister Morgan and Premier Wall to restore funding will ensure the continuation of the best provincial library system in Canada,” according to Sean Quinlan, Regina Public Library (RPL) Board Chair.
Morgan said in the statement the province will be working with libraries and municipalities to develop a long-term strategy for libraries. That will include a review of the laws governing libraries in the province and an effort to “find efficiencies, including options for transportation and co-location, to ensure the most effective use of available resources,” according to the press release announcing the change.