Moose Jaw’s Palliser Regional Library has laid off six employees after losing 58 per cent of its funding in the provincial budget.
“Libraries are integral to our society, and these cuts will have real-life implications for the hundreds of thousands of people who use the services every year,” Stacey Landin, president of the union that represents the employees, said in a news release.
All of Saskatchewan’s regional libraries saw a 50 per cent cut in funding, which amounts to $3.5 million in savings for the province.
“It is astonishing that the government is cutting services and laying off people at the same time they are reducing corporate tax rates,” Landin said. “Our members who work in the library system love their jobs and are proud of the important work they do to provide an amazing service to the people of Saskatchewan.”
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) issued a statement saying it will fight the cuts.
Services could be cut
The Southeast Regional Library posted a fact sheet on social media, laying out the potential impacts of the cuts.
It said the 58 per cent in funding would directly impact the Regional Library Headquarters’ ability to co-ordinate services throughout the rural public library branch network.
The fact sheet noted the following services would be cut without a functioning headquarters operation:
- The ability to purchase or process new materials, including books and DVDs
- The ability to transfer items between branches
- Digital resources, including e-books, e-audiobooks, streaming music and movies, and downloading magazines and newspapers
- The province-wide integrated computer system for rural libraries
- Co-ordination of literacy programs, such as aboriginal storytelling month or summer reading club
- Payroll system and administrative support
- I.T. support for staff and public access computers
- Guidance, professional advice and support for local library boards
- Training and supervision for local staff
- Special programming kits for things like book clubs