Bruce Grey Owen Sound’s MPP wants to clarify the Province’s position in regards to cuts to the Southern Ontario Library Service.
The 50 % slash in funding has had a direct impact on local library services.
When it comes to the loss of the interlibrary loan , MPP Bill Walker wants to set the record straight.
Walker says the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport asked both the Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS) and the Ontario Library Service North (OLS-N) to work with the government to identify, modernize and keep key programs running.
Walker calls it disappointing that rather than consult with the Province or other libraries first, that SOLS chose to immediately to cancel the inter-library loan program.
The cancellation of the program was not a huge surprise, as SOLS has acknowledged that the 1.3 million dollar program was becoming unsustainable.
Walker however would have preferred that SOLS had first collaborated with the government and libraries about alternatives.
He notes that Canada Post could have been a possible alternative to the interlibrary loan courier system.
Walker says the SOLS interlibrary loan program delivered approximately 320 thousand items a year at a round trip cost of 8 dollars per item. (4 dollars in each direction)
He says Canada Post offers a special rate to libraries of $1.68 round trip through the mail.
Walker says this just goes to show that efficiencies can be found.
Many libraries across the region are very upset over the provincial 50% slash in funding to SOLS.
As SOLS not only provided the interlibrary loan program to local libraries, but for a small fee libraries are currently able to access thousands of e-book downloads a year.
There is much concern at the local level that the e-book program may
be next on the chopping block.
Over the last few weeks, the Hanover Library has collected over 700 names on a local petition urging the Province to reverse the funding cuts to SOLS and OLS-N as well as maintain the operating grant for all Ontario libraries.
In Hanover the interlibrary loan program accounted for 33 percent of the books that come through the Hanover library system.
Walker notes Ontario is facing a 346 billion dollar deficit, the highest sub-national debt on the entire planet.
He says collectively Ontario is in trouble and that is why the Province needs its partners to work together to find efficiencies.