PU­BLIC LIBRARIES DEMAND MORE PROVINCIAL FUNDING

Vision (Canada) - - La Une - ALEXIA MARSILLO alexia.marsillo@eap.on.ca

The Cla­rence-Ro­ck­land Pu­blic Li­bra­ry has joi­ned other pu­blic libraries across the pro­vince in the fight for more provincial funding.

The Li­bra­ry Board sub­mit­ted a mo­tion to the Ci­ty, which has al­rea­dy been ap­pro­ved, ur­ging the provincial go­vern­ment to end the 20-year funding-freeze on pu­blic li­bra­ry funding. The mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty now pu­bli­cly sup­ports the li­bra­ry in its demand for more funding from the provincial go­vern­ment.

Eve­ry year, pu­blic libraries in On­ta­rio re­ceive a Pu­blic Li­bra­ry Ope­ra­ting Grant (PLOG) and re­ceive funding for pay equi­ty. This amount has not in­crea­sed for the past 20 years, hence the term ‘funding freeze.’ “It has not gone up with in­fla­tion, it has not mo­ved one cent,” said Ca­the­ri­na Rouse, the CEO of the Cla­rence-Ro­ck­land Pu­blic Li­bra­ry. “It’s been the exact same pay­ment for 20 years and this is the same for all libraries across On­ta­rio.”

The Fe­de­ra­tion of On­ta­rio Pu­blic Libraries (FOPL) has tea­med up with the On­ta­rio Li­bra­ry As­so­cia­tion (OLA) to lob­by for more funding. The two as­so­cia­tions have re­ques­ted an in­crease of $ 17 mil­lion in an­nual funding – from the cur­rent $ 33 mil­lion to $ 50 mil­lion. They have al­so re­ques­ted that the provincial go­vern­ment de­di­cate an ad­di­tio­nal $ 25 mil­lion for the de­ve­lop­ment and im­ple­men­ta­tion of On­ta­rio’s Di­gi­tal Li­bra­ry.

“Eve­ryw­here you go, the libraries are ac­tual­ly going up in ser­vices, we are going up in vi­si­tors and going up in loans,” said Rouse. “People used to say libraries are ir­re­le­vant, well then why are our num­bers still going up?” Ac­cor­ding to FOPL and OLA, eve­ry year, 4.2 mil­lion On­ta­rians of all ages ac­cess 242,000 pro­grams through their lo­cal pu­blic li­bra­ry. Eve­ry dol­lar in­ves­ted in libraries ge­ne­rates over $ 6 in lo­cal eco­no­mic im­pact.

“It’s un­rea­lis­tic to say we don’t need more funding and that we are ir­re­le­vant,” said Rouse. “Be­cause, clear­ly, we are not.” The Cla­rence-Ro­ck­land Pu­blic Li­bra­ry, like ma­ny pu­blic libraries across the pro­vince, have had to re­sort t on their mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties for more funding to co­ver their ope­ra­ting ex­penses, such as basic of­fice sup­plies. In fact, Cla­rence-Ro­ck­land pu­blic li­bra­ry funding saw a 15 per cent in­crease in the 2018 bud­get, from a bud­get of $140,744 in 2017 to $163,096 in 2018.

"We have to get the mo­ney from so­mew­here, so the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties are bea­ring the brunt of this,” said Rouse.

“That is why they are sup­por­ting this mo­tion, ab­so­lu­te­ly." Now, the hope is to get Glen­gar­ry-Pres­cott-Rus­sell MPP Grant Crack to sup­port the funding demand and bring it to Queen’s Park. Se­ve­ral MPPs across the pro­vince have al­rea­dy sta­ted their sup­port of this demand from their lo­cal pu­blic libraries.

The Cla­rence-Ro­ck­land Pu­blic Li­bra­ry’s demand that the pro­vince end this funding freeze, with the sup­port of the Ci­ty, will be sent to the Mi­nis­ter of Tou­rism, Culture and Sport, the On­ta­rio Mi­nis­ter of Mu­ni­ci­pal Af­fairs, the lo­cal MPPs, the As­so­cia­tion of Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties On­ta­rio, OLA and FOPL.

The mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty now pu­bli­cly sup­ports the li­bra­ry in its demand for more funding from the provincial go­vern­ment.

—pho­to d’ar­chives

La bi­blio­thèque pu­blique de Cla­rence-Ro­ck­land s’est jointe à d’autres bi­blio­thèques pu­bliques de la pro­vince afin d’ob­te­nir plus de fi­nan­ce­ment de la pro­vince. Le conseil de la bi­blio­thèque a pré­sen­té une mo­tion à la ville, qui a dé­jà été ap­prou­vée,...

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