For Throwback Thursday, I’m posting an article I found in the Spring 2010 issue of the Saskatchewan Library Trustees Association newsletter – a happier time only seven short years ago when the province’s ten library systems joined together to form SILS, a province-wide public library consortium that was the culmination of decades of inter-provincial cooperation between libraries.
SILS was created with funding and support from the Sask Party and even though I’m not a supporter of their party, I remember being very impressed with the Sask Party’s foresight in funding this uniquely Saskatchewan initiative to make us one of the only jurisdictions in the entire world to have a province-wide library system. I also thought it was a brilliant strategic move for them as it ensured that rural citizens aka “their base” would get access to the exact same services and resources as people in the cities.
I understand that we’re in tough economic times today.
But it’s almost unbelievable that a party that seven short years ago acknowledged, in the words of former Deputy Premier and Minister of Education, Ken Krawetz, how funding a province-wide library system would be more “convenient, cost-effective and accessible” for the people of the province has now decided to not only cut back on that funding but reduce it by so much that the very existence of the province’s public libraries is at risk, *especially* in rural areas.
Current economic situation notwithstanding, I honestly don’t understand how the same political party can flip so completely in less than a decade about the value of public libraries. The $5 million a year they’ll save is literally a rounding error in terms of the overall Saskatchewan budget, especially when there are many other places to cut wasteful spending much more effectively.
So again, this is my daily request for Minister Morgan to reconsider these drastic and likely irreversible cuts.