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Niagara Falls
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Provincial cuts hit Niagara library

The provincial government’s planned cuts to library services are going to affect library patrons in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The Libraries in Niagara Co-operative, a local reciprocal borrowing program that started in 2010 among public libraries in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Lincoln, Pelham and Fort Erie, and Niagara College’s library, has suspended operations.

The province’s 50 per cent budget cut to the Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS) and Ontario Library Service-North has resulted in the suspension of all interlibrary loan service as of April 26. 

NOTL library board chair Madeleine Lefebvre called on the government to reconsider the decision in order to  “protect what matters most.”

In a letter to Michael Tibollo, the minister of tourism, culture and sport, she expressed the “profound disappointment” of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library board over the decision.

“During the first three months of 2019, our library users borrowed an average of 762 items a month from libraries in the Libraries in Niagara Cooperative (LiNC) and 45 items each month from libraries outside the Niagara Region. In addition, SOLS negotiates and co-ordinates bulk discount purchasing of online library products such as eBooks and information databases for libraries across the province,” Lefebvre wrote.

The provincial and Niagara interlibrary loan services ensure “fast and efficient sharing of books and other materials between libraries in the Niagara Region and across the province, increasing selection and decreasing duplication, through a shared database and courier network,” she said.

Without the sharing network, the NOTL library will be unable to provide important services the community relies on, she said.

The NOTL Public Library board was scheduled to meet on Wednesday evening and the province’s budget cuts were expected to be part of the discussions.

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