The Government of Saskatchewan announced today that it will be restoring funding for Saskatchewan libraries back to the 2016-17 funding levels to ensure that regional and municipal libraries and the interlibrary loan services remain operational. Today’s announcement will provide $4.8 million in addition to the $3.5 million that was announced on budget day, March 22.
“Premier Wall has always said that we would be the kind of government that would admit its mistakes and then fix those mistakes,” Education Minister Don Morgan said. “There were many necessary, difficult decisions taken in this budget, however the reductions in library funding without giving libraries the tools to meet the new challenge was a mistake. So today I am announcing restoration of library funding as well as a consultative review with the Saskatchewan libraries and municipalities to determine the way forward in terms of what is best for library users and communities as well as what is also financially responsible.”
Funding for the Pahkisimon Nuyeáh library system in Northern Saskatchewan remains consistent with last year’s funding level at $974,000.
“The decision by Minister Morgan and Premier Wall to restore funding will ensure the continuation of the best provincial library system in Canada,” Regina Public Library Board Chair Sean Quinlan said. “Today’s announcement will positively affect generations of Saskatchewan residents today and into the future. The Regina Public Library will work with government to ensure our library system is sustainable.”
The government will be engaging with libraries, municipalities and the public to develop a long-term strategy for the future of libraries. This will include reviewing The Public Libraries Act to ensure libraries have modern legislation that reflects current needs. This will also involve working with libraries to find efficiencies, including options for transportation and co-location, to ensure the most effective use of available resources.