Supporting the Public Library System
Whereas libraries have been central to communities for hundreds of years, creating a passion for reading and learning; and
Whereas, regardless of socio-economic backgrounds, libraries plug us into our communities and can be counted on to provide the resources needed to succeed, including: answers to many important questions; access to reading materials for those who cannot afford to purchase books; and an internet connection for information, banking, communications, job searches, and filling out government forms; and
Whereas libraries do much more than collect books, offering programs such as the Single Integrated Library System (SILS), preschool programs, reading programs, book clubs, story time, summer reading programs, and seniors programs; and
Whereas an amalgamation with school libraries that have limited public access and resources for an entire community would weaken the public library system; and
Whereas Minister Morgan is quoted as stating “we heard from the people of Saskatchewan that equitable library services, resource sharing and a strong library system are a vital part of our infrastructure and important to our vision for the future of Saskatchewan;”
Therefore be it resolved that the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association advocate the Government of Saskatchewan to adequately fund the public library system to keep pace with inflation, and ensure that both large and small community libraries can meet the programming and educational needs that are an integral part of library programming and services for their communities; and
Be it further resolved that the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association participate fully in any government review, advocating for improved services and adequate funding for the development of a long-term strategy for the future of Saskatchewan libraries that includes engaging the library community, municipalities, and the public to ensure support for our community library services, SILS, and programming for all ages and patrons regardless of socio-economic status.
The government appreciates the many services and programs public libraries make available across this province. As stated in the resolution, people are using their public libraries not only to access reading materials from across the province, but also to attend preschool, summer reading, and seniors programs, as well as a number of other services.
As you are aware, our government has restored funding for Saskatchewan libraries back to the 2016-17 funding levels to ensure that regional and municipal libraries and the interlibrary loan service remain operational. This includes supporting internet access which allows library patrons to do banking, job searches, and fill out government forms online.
Our government will continue to explore efficiencies within the provincial public library system, taking the issues expressed in this resolution into account.