PUBLIC LIBRARIES DEMAND MORE PROVINCIAL FUNDING
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.
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,...