The Rainy River Public Library Board is reeling from a 50 percent cut to provincial library services.
The cut was delivered by the Ontario government in its 2019 budget.
Taking over $1 million away from Ontario Library Service-North (OLS-North) and the Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS) will be a disaster, said Rainy River librarian Michael Dawber.
“Northern libraries rely on OLS-North for a lot,” he added.
“They run the pool collections of large print books and books on CD we share with other libraries,” Dawber said.
“They help librarians and library boards get the training they need to do their jobs.
“Rainy River patrons will see a big drop in service without OLS-North support,” he added.
Even though SOLS is in Toronto, cuts there will be felt in Rainy River.
“SOLS runs the interlibrary loan service and the Overdrive eBook collection,” said Rainy River Library Board chair Norina Sopotiuck.
Interlibrary loan moves books, DVDs and CDs between libraries.
The service filled 385 requests for Rainy River patrons in 2018.
Due to the budget cuts, Ontario interlibrary loan services have stopped for now.
“We have no idea now what those services will look like in a year’s time,” said Sopotiuck. “Will we still have them?”
The Rainy River Library has spent years getting ready for this situation, noted Dawber.
“We have our own eBook service, Axis 360, that does not rely on provincial dollars,” he added.
“We are also the only library in Ontario that is a part of Manitoba’s interlibrary loan system,” said Dawber.
“We planned ahead, but our small library will still take a big hit.
“We also don’t know if cuts are coming to our annual Public Library Operating Grant,” he added.
That grant splits about $7,800 a year between the four municipalities that support the library.
The library board encourages you to contact our local MPP, Greg Rickford.
Write to him at 1-279 Scott Street, Fort Frances ON P9A 1G8.
You can also write Michael Tibollo, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
His address is 6th Floor, 438 University Avenue, Toronto ON M5G 2K8.
Let the government know how much you love your library!