Yesterday, Saskatchewan libraries announced they were eliminating the interlibrary loan program, which allowed library cardholders to borrow books from library regions across the province, knowns as the One Province, One Card approach. During question period at the legislative assembly on April 4th, Don Morgan displayed an astonishing level of cognitive dissonance by stating that the provincial interlibrary loan system should continue.
“Education Minister Don Morgan is the latest person to try to save the province’s robust interlibrary loan system. The only reason program is only in trouble because of the Sask Party’s heartless budget cuts,” said Christine Freely, spokesperson for Save Saskatchewan Libraries. “How does Don Morgan expect the services to continue when the budgets have been slashed by his government?”
The provincial government’s decision to cut funding for regional libraries by 58 percent, and eliminate funding for public libraries in Saskatoon and Regina is resulting in a loss of many services, including elimination of the interlibrary loan program. The challenges libraries are facing are compounded by the closure of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company. Many libraries depended on the bus services for the interlibrary loan program.
“The interlibrary loan system is critical to ensuring that rural communities have access to all the same books and resources as the big cities,” said Freethy. “Without funding, the interlibrary loan service will cease to serve us, the citizens of Saskatchewan, with efficiency. We should all have equal access to library materials regardless of where we live.”
As Minister Morgan himself said: “We have one of the best interlibrary loan services in the dominion of Canada. Mister Speaker, this morning I directed the regional officials to meet with the regional libraries, to determine the best ways of restructuring to make sure that we can maintain and continue the interlibrary loan service, we have a large investment made in that service and it’s something that we will continue.”
“The overwhelming public response to the cuts to libraries show that the people of Saskatchewan are very proud of our world class library system,” said Freely. “But the best interlibrary loan service in the country needs funding to operate. We encourage everyone who cares about our libraries to contact their MLA and let them know that we demand that funding for our regional libraries be restored immediately.”
To learn more and take action, please visit www.savesasklibraries.ca.
For more information, please contact: Christine Freethy, library activist at 306-841-7125