Thousands rally for libraries at Drop Everything and Read events across Saskatchewan

Over 4000 Saskatchewan residents attended 72 communities to participate in “Drop Everything and Read” actions to stand up against the devastating library cuts from the provincial government.

“Today was an incredible illustration of how deeply people in Saskatchewan care about brick and mortar libraries,” said Christine Freely, founder of Save Saskatchewan Libraries. “Our libraries are vibrant cornerstones in our communities, and  these cuts will not be tolerated. We will continue to advocate for a full restoration of the funding that the provincial government o heartlessly cut.”

This pan-Saskatchewan event was the largest day of action in recent Saskatchewan history. People from all walks of live rallied at MLA offices, in front of libraries, and in community spaces.

Leslie Richards, the mastermind behind today’s action, said “I’d like to thank the people in Saskatchewan for participating in the DEAR event. Today we demonstrated our deep love for the libraries and our communities. I am proud to live in Saskatchewan and would like to see the government acknowledge our actions and restore full funding to the library.”

The fight to save Saskatchewan libraries will continue. People who are concerned about the cuts are encourage to contact their MLA, to download the various petitions, and to stay informed at www.savesasklibraries.ca.

Check out the social media feed here: https://storify.com/SaveSkLibraries/drop-everything-and-read-saskatchewan

 

-30-

For more information, please contact: Christine Freethy, library activist at 306-841-7125

 

 

Drop Everything and Read – Events in over 60 communities

Let your local MLA know you love your library and say NO to these cuts in funding. Bring a book and read outside their office as a group for 15 minutes. This is intended to take place at your local MLA office all over Saskatchewan. Let the Gov’t know that we love our libraries and the proposed cuts are a mistake!

There is over 60 events in communities across the province! Find information about an event near you here!

If you can’t make it but want to join us, use #Sklibraries and post a picture of yourself reading on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!

 

Don Morgan displays stunning hypocrisy by telling libraries to save “One Card” system after slashing funding

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.

-30-

For more information, please contact: Christine Freethy, library activist at 306-841-7125

Concerned citizens launch Save Saskatchewan Libraries campaign to reverse government’s harmful cuts

Concerned citizens from across Saskatchewan are standing together to fight back against the Saskatchewan government’s recent cuts to libraries by launching a new campaign, Save Sask Libraries.

Since its start as a facebook group on Thursday, over 4,000 people have joined the campaign – and the number keeps growing. Now the group is launching a website (www.savesasklibraries.ca)  which features an online letter writing tool and a paper petition drive.

“I am just a mom who cares deeply about library services. I was really mad that the Government’s budget  is cutting off rural libraries at the knees,” said Christine Freethy, one of the founder of Save Sask Libraries.  “I have no idea it would get this big, but it is clear from the response from ppeople from all over Saskatchewan that are libraries matter and that these cuts are unacceptable.”

The latest Saskatchewan budget eliminated provincial funding for public libraries in Regina and Saskatoon and cut funding for regional libraries in half, or by $3.5 million.

“This decision will have a devastating impact on regional libraries, who are losing the majority of their funding with no notice. They will have no choice but to cut important programing, reduce hours, layoff staff, or close branches. And our communities will suffer from the loss,” said Freethy. “We all need to speak out now and let our elected official now that libraries are the heart of our communities.”

A province wide action, “Drop Everything and Read” has been announced.  This initiative,  scheduled April 7th and shall be organized by local committees.   Spearheaded by Leslie Richards, library supporters will gather locally at their MLA offices, to read a book and call upon the government to reconsider their funding cuts to regional libraries.

You can learn more about the group and their initiative at www.savesask.libraries.ca or on facebook by searching for the group Supporting Saskatchewan’s Public Libraries.

Drop Everything And Read – Support of your local Library!

On April 7 at 12:00 p.m., join us for a province wide action to show our support for libraries.

Let your local MLA know you love your library and say NO to these cuts in funding. Bring a book and read outside their office as a group for 15 minutes. This is intended to take place at your local MLA office all over Saskatchewan. Let the Gov’t know that we love our libraries and they the proposed cuts are a mistake!
While this is a province-wide event, we ask that you organise your own local event. This page is set up to connect you to others within your community and to encourage you to plan an event at your local MLA’s office. Below is a link posted to all the address of each office and the area they cover.

This will be a place for local organizers to get materials and support!

If you can’t make it but want to join us, use #Sklibraries and post a picture of yourself reading on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!

http://www.legassembly.sk.ca/mlas/

Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/114435322428072/

 

Libraries left feeling the pain after latest Sask Party budget

Yesterday’s budget eliminated provincial funding for public libraries in Regina and Saskatoon and cut funding for regional libraries in half, or by $3.5 million. CUPE is concerned about the impact this will have on libraries across the province – and for the municipalities that suddenly have to plan for the downloading of services.

“Libraries are a vital part of communities across Saskatchewan, and the services they provide enrich the lives of many,” said Rhonda Heisler, CUPE library sector coordinator. “The Saskatchewan Government’s cuts to libraries will have a devastating impact on the many people who use library services and the many hard working and dedicated public servants who work in libraries.”

CUPE represents 722 library workers who provide frontline services to residents in six regional libraries across the province and in Regina and Saskatoon public libraries. The primary job classifications are librarian, library clerk, library archive technician, and page. The vast majority of library workers are women (85 per cent), and many library workers are in part time or casual positions.

“Libraries are about more than just borrowing books. Meeting rooms are used by community groups, library staff host education programs and clubs, and the publicly accessible computer terminals are very popular,” said Heisler. “There are services for seniors, children, employment support, language and reading groups, citizenship test preparation, and help for newcomers to build their resumes.”

Funding of libraries has traditionally been a joint provincial municipal responsibility. Now the province is downloading more costs onto municipalities, while also cutting other municipal funding such as the Rink Affordability Program, funding for regional parks, and the grants in lieu of taxes program for Crown Corporations.

“Education Minister Don Morgan said the government “should be getting out of bricks and mortar libraries” and that a “library may not be a place that should be used as a sanctuary.” This statement shows a lack of understanding of the many services libraries provide and the many reasons our patrons have for depending on libraries,” said Heisler. “CUPE will continue to advocate for adequate funding for public libraries and to support our members who work in this area.”