Government neglect putting libraries in precarious position
NDP Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi) says the provincial library system is becoming increasingly precarious, the result of years of underfunding and neglect. Michael has written to the Education minister, asking him to “stop the slow bleeding of the provincial library system,” restore the $1.2 million cut from the system in Budget 2013 and recognize and support the valuable services libraries provide.
Last month, the library in St. Lunaire-Griquet ceased operations because it was housed in a school that was shut down.
“At this moment, about a third of the province’s libraries are physically located in schools, some of those schools with declining student populations,” Michael said. “I question how secure our library system is even as its importance to people increases.”
In addition to libraries’ traditional provision of reading materials and programs, they often serve as the only point of Internet access.
“People wanting to apply for the provincial government Home Heating Rebate or submit online job applications or use the services of the federal student job service depend on their local libraries,” Michael said.
Ten libraries have closed since the 1990s, and only one new one has opened since 1985.
“I urge your government to reverse the previous budgets cuts in this coming year,” Michael says in her letter to the minister. “Greater investment in libraries will allow them to expand the valuable information and learning services they provide in our communities.”