BC provincial public libraries have not yet received their 2009 annual operating grants from the provincial government, nor have they been told how much money they will be receiving – both of which usually happen earlier in the fiscal year. There have been strong indications that the Province has decided to stop funding libraries and that this funding may be cut from the current and subsequent budgets.
During this economic downturn, there has been a significant increase in the usage of BC public libraries. Residents know that their libraries offer more than free books to read – they are using the Internet and computer systems to do research, hunt for jobs and more. Without provincial grants, significant cuts will result in these areas:
- Open Access – In 2008, open access to library collections resulted in more than 5.4 million items being borrowed between communities, creating substantial provincial cost savings by borrowing rather than buying duplicate books.
- Online Resources – BC residents have 24/7 online access to hundreds of online full text magazines and databases purchased cooperatively by BC libraries. This saves significant tax payer dollars and ensures that BC’s rural and remote citizens have the same access to information available in BC’s larger centres.
- AskAway – A collaborative reference service provided by BC libraries. Residents can get free quality help with research on any topic or question from experienced librarians and library technicians.
- BC OneCard – The BC OneCard program ensures that no matter where you are in BC you have access to local libraries and library services for free by showing your home library card and photo identification.
- Literacy Programming – Babies and kids around BC can maintain and enhance their literacy skills at all BC public libraries with the BC Summer Reading Club and Books for BC Babies. Both programs are offered free of charge and ensure that all children in BC have the opportunity to develop their reading skills.
What You Can Do to Help
BC’s public libraries are important to the communities they serve, make sure the BC provincial government knows how you feel about public libraries not yet receiving their 2009 annual operating grants.
To show your support of continued provincial funding for BC’s public library system, please: