Letter to Clyde Jackman re. NL Library cuts

Letter to Clyde Jackman re. $1.2 Million cut to the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries

April 4, 2013

Dear Mr. Jackman:

     The Atlantic Provinces Library Association (APLA) represents approximately 400 personal and institutional members drawn from public, academic, school, and special libraries throughout the Atlantic region.  Our mandate to serve the interests of all who work in the Atlantic region's libraries, as well as those who are interested in library and information services in the Atlantic Provinces compels me to write to you today on behalf of the 110,000 registered library users who reside in your jurisdiction. APLA’s members are extremely concerned about the recent budget reductions that have caused a severe loss of staff positions, the result of which will be a significant decline in library services for these engaged citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador.   

     Library services are an essential ingredient of safe, prosperous and healthy communities. We appreciate the financial pressures that governments are currently facing, and sympathize with the need to make difficult decisions. However, it is during the tough economic times that library services are needed more than ever. It is well established that a rise in literacy rate has a direct and positive effect on physical and mental health and in lowering crime. Most of all we want to offer our youth a successful and affluent future. Literacy is undeniably an essential component to economic prosperity for individuals. The government of Newfoundland and Labrador has relied upon the Public Library to promote literacy in the province. The early literacy programming which will be piloted in select public libraries this year is a current and important example. Sustained access to the collections and services of the public library will be necessary to ensure the long term goals of the program are met. Given these goals and the very positive impact that libraries will have in helping to achieve them, the reduction of Library budgets, staff positions, hours and services is ill-timed.

     The Newfoundland and Labrador Public Library annual report reminds us that nearly 1.6 million items are borrowed from your public libraries annually. These collections and services are important and well utilized by your residents. We hope that you will reconsider the budget decisions that have led to this point, and reestablish Newfoundland and Labrador’s investment in libraries. If you wish to discuss the current and potential value of libraries to your citizens please contact my colleagues in the Newfoundland and Labrador Library Association and me. We would be happy to have representatives meet with you at any time.

 

Thank you for your time,

Lou Duggan

President, Atlantic Provinces Library Association