Li­brary re­port pro­vides no an­swers on clo­sures

Dis­ap­point­ment ex­pressed by union

Northern Pen - - EDITORIAL - BY STEPHEN ROBERTS

ST. AN­THONY, NL – Li­braries in New­found­land and Labrador are still wait­ing for a de­ci­sion on their fu­tures.

On May 23, CUPE, the union rep­re­sent­ing li­brar­i­ans, is­sued a press re­lease ex­press­ing dis­ap­point­ment that the New­found­land and Labrador Pub­lic Li­braries EY re­port did not pro­vide an an­swer on which li­braries in the province are slated to close.

“CUPE mem­bers are ask­ing how a long-over­due re­port, which came at a great cost to tax­pay­ers, fails to pro­vide the one rec­om­men­da­tion it was os­ten­si­bly com­mis­sioned to de­liver – whether or not to close pub­lic li­braries in 54 com­mu­ni­ties in New­found­land and Labrador,” the state­ment reads. “There are no spe­cific rec­om­men­da­tions re­gard­ing the clo­sures; rather, there are vague ob­ser­va­tions about establishing location pa­ram­e­ters to de­cide which li­braries should close or be amal­ga­mated.”

The Cow Head Pub­lic Li­brary was one of the li­braries ini­tially slated to close in 2016. Li­brary board chair Nancy Brown fought hard to keep it open. She has pre­vi­ously called the li­brary the “heart and soul of our com­mu­nity.”

Brown was shocked and dis­ap­pointed by the lack of def­i­nite an­swers the re­view pro­vided.

“When I first started read­ing the re­view on­line, I kept go­ing through it and get­ting (closer) to the back, I kept say­ing, ‘oh my God, is our li­brary clos­ing?’” she says.

“We waited pa­tiently for a full year, but we’re no closer now to the res­o­lu­tion of the big ques­tion in ev­ery­body’s mind in the province: will our li­brary close? We find that stress­ful and dis­heart­en­ing.”

Brown calls li­braries “the very heart and soul of rural New­found­land and Labrador.”

In her mind, it’s there­fore very im­por­tant to keep these li­braries.

She be­lieves los­ing ser­vices like li­braries dis­cour­ages peo­ple from mov­ing to com­mu­ni­ties like Cow Head.

“If govern­ment is go­ing to take away ser­vices, it’s go­ing to be hard to sur­vive,” she says.

Brown feels like she didn’t get any sense what­so­ever whether the Cow Head Pub­lic Li­brary will stay or close.

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