Provincial cuts will hurt small-town libraries.
The Province recently announced that it would be cutting the budget of Southern Ontario Library Services (SOLS) by 50%.
Karen Filipkowski, CEO and head librarian of Madawaska Valley Public Library (MVPL) says that SOLS works to offer services to libraries at cost-efficient prices. They actually take care of the inter-library loan portal and most deliveries go through them she says. With their budget being cut by 50%, effective immediately, this means that libraries like MVPL will now have to pay for shipping costs. “No one budgeted for this” Filipkowski says and adds that this came as a total surprise to everyone. As of now, the inter-library loan portal has been shutdown until the end of May or beginning of June. Once it reopens, she says they will have to pay for the service.
Inter-library loans aren’t just effective because they give readers access to a panoply of books, but it also helps libraries who are dealing with space limitations. Filipkowski says that MVPL can’t get all of the long series that include 20 books from the same author because they take up too much space. The cuts will also affect the shipping of pooled collections of books and DVDs MVPL receives every three months in order to keep a fresh rotation. The same can be said for book clubs. She says that now they have to pay the shipping costs of the come and go which might impact the frequency of the coming and going.
The funding for computers for internet usage was cut, the reimbursement for the cost of providing internet was cut two years ago but this one hurts a lot Filipkowski says. “We’ve had the odd grant here and there that helped us limp along but this is a big hit” she adds and states “I don’t know that there’s a province in Canada that doesn’t offer inter-library loans” and ends by saying that it’s a shame to see it crippled so much.