Library report provides no answers on closures
Disappointment expressed by union
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.