Provincial budget cuts impact local library services

It didn’t take long for a cut to provincial funding for libraries to have an impact in Brock Township and other communities across Ontario.

After its budget was cut by more than 50 percent in the Conservative government’s budget earlier this month, the Southern Ontario Library Service announced that its interlibrary loan program will be suspended.

The Brock Township Public Library shared the news in a social media post over the weekend.

“We apologize to our patrons for this loss of service,” it reads, encouraging residents to share their concerns with area MPP Laurie Scott or Premier Doug Ford.

Southern Ontario Library Service CEO Barbara Franchetto referred to the budget cuts as a “very dark time” for the organization and its members in a blog post.

This is a substantial cut which must be absorbed in the current 2019-20, fiscal year. Valued services will have to be eliminated. I have since learned that Ontario Library Service-North is also facing a 50% budget cut and will also have to eliminate valued services,” it reads.

The suspension of the interlibrary loan program will be effective as of April 26.

“I know this is very sad and disappointing news but given the enormity of the cut to our operating budget, there is no alternative. Even under our previous budget allocation, it was becoming difficult to sustain the service because of ever increasing operating costs,” Franchetto wrote in a follow-up post.

She referred to the suspension of the interoffice loan program as “end of an era in provincial resource sharing” and noted that 24 drivers will be losing their jobs.

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