Increased Funding for Public Library System
Res #: 7-13M
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Education
WHEREAS the Province of Saskatchewan, represented by the Minister of Education on behalf of the Saskatchewan Public Library, entered into an agreement to provide financial support to adequately fund library resources throughout the province; and
WHEREAS the historical minimal increases to base/operational funding have not been sufficient to maintain service levels expected by our residents or to implement new government service;
BE IT RESOLVED that the Ministry of Education advance the Public Library System of Saskatchewan by increasing operational and resource sharing funding to each public library equal to inflation plus 2% per year to help them catch up with previous shortfalls in funding and provide sustainable funding to support all provincially mandated initiatives within the libraries, in collaboration with school boards, and with other public partners.
Response from Don Morgan, Q.C., Minister of Education
The government of Saskatchewan is committed to supporting our public libraries and recognizes the important contributions they make in our communities. Targeted funding in the current budget provides a 5.3 per cent overall increase for public library services.
Total grants to the provincial public library system will be $11.008M in 2013-14, which includes $500K new investment to expand the CommunityNet infrastructure to support the Single Integrated Library System (SILS) and all public library branches; $100K in new funding for the National Network for Equitable Library Services, providing visually impaired library patrons with access to Saskatchewan, Canadian and international digital content without our library systems incurring user or licensing fees; and $100K re-allocated to ensure that all people in Saskatchewan can continue to access library resources free-of-charge from outside of the province via Interlibrary Loan.
The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to maintaining a balanced budget. While we were not able to increase the resource sharing grant pool in 2013-14, our targeted grants and ongoing funding illustrate strong support and confirmation of the value we place on the work done in public libraries. Public Libraries provide equitable service and build citizen-centered, community-oriented and technology based library services for all residents of this province.
Funding for public libraries in Saskatchewan is a shared responsibility. With the ongoing input of library trustees, library members and other interested parties, we will continue to ensure that Saskatchewan's municipal, regional and northern library systems have the governance structures and support they require.
Thank you again for sharing the resolution of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, and for your ongoing commitment and support of public libraries. The strength of our provincial public library system comes from the informed engagement of library trustees, library members and elected officials such as the members of your association.