Five local libraries earmarked for closure
Brigus, Fox Harbour, Harbour Grace, Victoria, Winterton losing service
Five libraries in the Trinity-Conception-Placentia area will close over the next two years, according to a list released last Thursday by the Provincial Information and Library Resources Board (PILRB).
Libraries in Brigus, Fox Harbour, Harbour Grace, Victoria and Winterton will close. The Winterton library, which is located in the same property as Perlwin Elementary, will close at some point in the 2016-17 fiscal year, while the other four libraries are slated to shut down the following year.
Regional libraries will be located in Bay Roberts, Carbonear, Old Perlican, Placentia and Whitbourne.
The closure of 54 out of 95 libraries across Newfoundland and Labrador is due to the provincial government’s decision to reduce PILRB’s operating budget by $1 million.
Winterton Mayor Mark Sheppard was disappointed by the news of the impending closure of his town’s library. With two sons attending the local elementary school, he personally understands the value of the library to kids in the area.
“It’s sad to see. It’s one of very few services delivered in Winterton,” he said when reached by The Compass last Friday.
While Sheppard is sympathetic to the province’s need to reduce expenditures, the mayor suspects government could have found ways to do more of that within government offices in St. John’s.
Mike Hewson, chair of the Bay Roberts Library Board, told The Compass prior to PILRB’s announcement of which ones would close that services provided by libraries are of particular importance to children.
“It’s there, in my view, where literacy starts and the idea of reading and learning and acquiring knowledge,” he said, later adding the closure of libraries comes with dangerous consequences.
“I come from a science background and I know the cost of knowledge and the cost of research and the cost of acquiring knowledge. It can be expensive, but if you take a look at the cost of ignorance, you’ll find that’s a lot more expensive.”
In the case of Winterton, Sheppard says his council will likely look into whether there’s a way to keep the library functioning in some capacity, even if that means relying on a pool of volunteers for a few hours through out any given week. Coun. Roger Green is also the principal at Perlwin Elemen- tary. Sheppard said Friday he would likely talk with Green about the library closure later that day.
Harbour Grace Mayor Terry Barnes, who spoke with The Compass before specific closures were announced, said his council would likely consider weighing the pros and cons of taking over the library if it were closed.
David Hiscock, chair of the board responsible for Brigus’ library, didn’t want to speak at length about his library’s closure when contacted Friday, but he did say he’s prepared to fight for keeping it open.
Fox Harbour Mayor John Whiffen declined comment when contacted by The Compass Friday. Victoria Mayor Barry Dooley could not be reached prior to deadline.
The Harbour Grace War Memorial Library is one of five in the Trinity-Conception-Placentia area slated to close within the next two years. The Provincial Information and Library Resources Board is closing over half of all libraries in Newfoundland and Labrador.