NDP Condemns closure of more than half of province’s libraries
Earlier today, the Provincial Information and Libraries Resources Board announced that, because of budget cutbacks, it is forced to take the drastic step of closing 54 provincial libraries in the next two years. Up to 15 per cent of the province’s population could find themselves more than 30 minutes drive from the nearest library – in some cases, several hours away.
Today in Question Period, NDP MHAs Lorraine Michael (St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi) and Gerry Rogers (St. John’s Centre) wanted to know what evidence could possibly have made this look like a sensible decision in a province plagued with low literacy rates and increasing reliance on computers and internet to access government services.
Michael led off by asking Premier Dwight Ball if prior to finalizing the budget, “Did this government analyze the cumulative impact of all taxes, fees and levies on individuals and families at various income levels?”
She then asked if government had analyzed the effect of the cuts on the (mostly) rural areas which will lose their libraries.
Rogers says government is “choking the life out of rural communities” with this budget. In the last couple of weeks, government has closed AES and CYFS offices, schools and courts.
She wants to know if government took the time to analyze the impact of library closures on seniors who use the library for access to and assistance with information they can only get online, or on children and youth denied access to Every Child Ready to Read programs, after school programs and assistance on school projects offered in their community libraries.