Single Integrated Library Systems Funding
Whereas under The Public Libraries Act, 1996, the province establishes the boundaries of the regional library systems and requires that all municipal governments within a regional library system must participate unless they are part of the provincially approved municipal libraries (Saskatoon and Regina), making libraries a joint responsibility of all municipalities and the province; and
Whereas The Public Libraries Act, 1996 sets out one of the main purposes of the provincial library system is to facilitate equitable access to basic library services by all residents of Saskatchewan; and
Whereas there is a limited ability for regional library systems to support their headquarters through the levy structure; and
Whereas there is now a Single Integrated Library System (SILS) in place to ensure accessibility to materials for all residents the cost of which is born in part by municipalities; and
Whereas there is no fee for service with respect to use of the library; and
Whereas the government has indicated that libraries fall under the Ministry of Education;
Therefore be it resolved that the SUMA advocate with the Government of Saskatchewan to begin year-to-year funding increases for SILS and the library system, in order to: maintain pace with inflation and work toward 100 per cent provincial funding of SILS; ensure library services are provided to all residents of the province, regardless of where they reside or their financial circumstance; and to reduce the burden for the cost of SILS on municipalities.
Thank you for your recent letter regarding SUMA's 111th Annual Convention and for your update on the adoption of SUMA's (SUMA) resolution supporting Saskatchewan's public libraries and Single Integrated Library System (SILS). I appreciate the important role that Saskatchewan municipalities play in the support of public libraries.
The Government of Saskatchewan continues to provide substantial funding to public libraries in the province. Library funding is provided in the Ministry of Education's budget, which is set in the context of the provincial budget and the province's current fiscal circumstances. In this year's budget, provincial grant funding to support public libraries and the innovative services they provide remains constant at $11.09 million. This includes $8.25 million funding for resource sharing grants for regional libraries, $2.38 million funding for CommunityNet, $138,000 for library initiatives, $114,000 for the SILS initiative, $100,000 for Inter Library Loans, and $100,000 for the National Network for Equitable Library Service. Our government's solid track record of fiscal management will help us to face challenges presented by this summer's forest fires and the decline of oil prices.
Equitable library services, resource sharing and a strong provincial public library system are a vital part of our infrastructure and integral to our vision for the future of Saskatchewan. However, we realize that there is more work to be done and we will continue to explore opportunities to capitalize on the province-wide cooperation of our libraries for the benefit of all Saskatchewan residents.