After weeks of backlash, the provincial government has reversed its decision to slash library funding.
On Monday, the province announced it will be restoring funding back to the 2016-17 funding levels, allowing regional and municipal libraries to remain operational. This will also leave the inter-library loan service intact.
Libraries will get $4.8 million in addition to the $3.5 million that was announced in the budget on March 22.
Education Minister Don Morgan admitted cutting library funding was a mistake.
“Clearly we heard the message and we are not afraid to admit we were wrong on it,” Morgan said about the decision.
Restoring the funding is for this year only and discussions will continue about future program needs.
“It is worthwhile for us to listen to what the libraries are telling us and try and find a path forward that works for them,” Morgan said. “Hear what the issues or the concerns they have, do some consultations with them, with the municipalities, with SARM and SUMA and determine where we need to be in subsequent years.”
As the province develops a long-term strategy for the future of the province’s libraries, it will also review The Public Libraries Act. It also will work with libraries to find efficiencies, including options for transportation and co-location, to ensure the most effective use of available resources.