Public libraries in BC have not received their annual operating grants from the provincial government. They also have not been informed of the amount of the grant they will be receiving. BCLA has not learned of any decisions by the provincial government, but we are very concerned about the situation. We are particularly worried because some libraries rely on the grants for up to half of their annual funding, and we are already well into the fiscal year. While other libraries may not derive a large percentage of their funding from the operating grants, a cut in grant funding would still be extremely serious, especially because of the increased demand on library services that is likely to continue during the economic downturn.
It is during downturns in our economy when strong public libraries and library advocacy is needed most. It is the public library that people go to when they can no longer subscribe to their favourite magazines or newspaper, or to their Internet service. It is from the public library that people borrow rather than buy the latest bestseller, music CD or DVD. It is the public library that parents bring their children for free literacy-building programs.
As the public’s buying power shrinks, people will be relying on their public library for:
• Vital information on job opportunities, career planning, small business management and computer training
• Computer skills for downloading (and downloaded) government forms, sending resumes, online applications, email
• Building skills for reading, writing and numeracy, manuals and meeting rooms for tutoring
• ESOL, literacy, learning languages
• Entertainment, genealogy, travel, escape literature, citizenship, cultural networks.
Please participate in the http://www.stopbclibrarycuts.ca/ campaign to save funding for your community’s public library.
Go to www.stopbclibrarycuts.ca to sign the “Don’t Pull the Plug on Libraries” online petition and learn more about the issue.
Join the postcard campaign by signing and mailing a postcard to the Hon. Premier Gordon Campbell – postcards will be available at your library or they can download a copy from www.stopbclibrarycuts.ca.Call or send a letter to your local BC Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) and/or the Minister of Education, Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid
Send a letter to the local newspaper editor stating your support for continued provincial operating grants for BC public libraries.
Remember, your mum, dad or child needs our libraries more than ever. Our folks with disabilities need support from the community library. Libraries are free for you and me because of our tax dollars. Libraries reflect who we are and what we do. Your services that you own and support are slipping away – Don’t pull the plug on libraries.