Library cuts are an attack on literacy, rural NL: Michael
NDP Education Critic Lorraine Michael (MHA, St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi) is appalled that the Liberal government apparently plans to make drastic cuts to the cash-strapped libraries system in the province.
News broke earlier this week that the library in Torbay would be forced to close at the end of March; the province has refused to allot the funds it needs to stay open after its relocation last year from the Torbay Town Hall.
This is a blow to the rapidly-growing town, says Michael, but worse news for the entire province is that the Department of Education has apparently directed the Provincial Libraries Board to cut 30 per cent of their budget – this would be a $3.3 million dollar cut on top of the drastic 2013 cuts by the previous government.
“Not only will Torbay no longer have a library, the province’s library system has been told to cut 30 per cent for the upcoming budget,” Michael said. “How many other towns will be hearing similar bad news after this year’s provincial budget?
“Torbay is a growing town. It should not be losing a library. Residents were told they would have to access St. John’s libraries. But many library patrons do not drive into St. John’s.
“Libraries provide many programs and services, for example, story time and after school programs, parent-child literacy sessions – if family literacy is important to government, it must recognize this,” said Michael. “Libraries provide internet access and resources for student projects, for job-seekers, for people starting a business – this is increasingly important, particularly in rural areas, as more and more government services are only accessible on line.”