Resolutions

Supporting the Public Library System

Year: 2022

Resolution

Whereas Libraries have been central to communities for hundreds of years creating a passion for reading and learning; and

Whereas regardless of socio economic background libraries plug us into our communities and can be counted on to provide the resources needed to succeed, and answers to many important questions.  Libraries assist patrons who require help, cannot afford to purchase books or do not have access to an internet connection for information, banking, communications, job searches, filling out of government forms, and or assistance with covid forms and information; and

Whereas libraries do much more than collect books offering programs for all ages.  Programs such as the Single Integrated Library System (SILS), Pre-school programs, reading programs, book clubs, story time, mums and tots, summer reading programs, seniors’ programs, to name just a few; and

Whereas the Provincial Public Library Sector Plan (2022-2027) does not address the concerns raised by Library Boards and Directors, or the implementation of recommendations related to the Government’s provincial review.  Rather the sector plan deals with a five-year research plan which could include the downloading of funding to municipalities as one of their recommendations to the Minister; and

Whereas after the Provincial government review Minister Morgan is quoted as stating “we heard from the people of Saskatchewan that equitable library services, resource sharing and a strong library system are a vital part of our infrastructure and important to our vision for the future of Saskatchewan.”

 

Therefore be it resolved that SUMA advocate the Government of Saskatchewan to adequately fund the public library system to keep pace with inflation. Including retroactive payment based on inflation rates for the past years where no increases, or minor increases, have been given, and continue to fund Saskatchewan library systems; and

Therefore be it further resolved that SUMA advocate the Government of Saskatchewan to ensure that funding is increased annually to improve and support library services in both large and small community libraries.  Which would include, but not be limited to, access to current IT technology, programming and educational opportunities all of which are an integral part of library services in their communities; and

Therefore be it further resolved that SUMA participates fully in any government reviews, meetings or discussion, advocating for improved services and adequate funding for the development of a long term strategy for the continued growth and future of Saskatchewan libraries.  That this participation includes engaging the library community, municipalities and the public to ensure support for our community library services, SILS, and programming for all ages and patrons regardless of socioeconomic status.

 

ACTS AFFECTED: The Public Libraries Act

REGION/SECTOR AFFECTED: All

Provincial Response

May 27, 2022

Randy Goulden, President

Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association

 

Dear Ms. Goulden:

Thank you for your letter regarding the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) resolutions regarding support for the public library system as adopted by the membership at the 117th Annual Convention. It was a pleasure to attend and meet with your members at the convention.

The Government of Saskatchewan appreciates the important role that Saskatchewan municipalities play in the support of public libraries. 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 the province,

In 2017 the government committed to a focused review with the library sector and stakeholders regarding role clarity and responsibilities, governance, legislation, impact of fiscal pressures and the future state of public libraries. SUMA was a valued stakeholder participant.

The sector engagement resulted in a themed report by the Legislative Secretary and a public survey completed in 2018, Following this the Ministry of Education initiated a sector planning process with the public library sector. The Provincial Public Library Sector Plan 2022-2027, created in partnership with all public library systems in Saskatchewan, was released in December 2021.

The Ministry of Education recognizes that public libraries and their supporters are looking for long-term stability in the library system. The first-year sector plan's priority areas will include sustainability, technology, literacy, reconciliation and library services. Benchmarking and cross­ jurisdictional coordination will also be part of this year's goal. As development advances, the ministry anticipates working with the library sector and other stakeholders over the next five years to implement this approach and will ensure SUMA, as a key stakeholder, receives communication updates regarding this work.

 

Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns.

 

 
   

Dustin Duncan, Minister of Education

 

cc: Donna Johnson, Deputy Minister, Education

Alison Hopkins, Provincial Librarian/Executive Director, Provincial Library and Literacy Office, Education

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