Roland Butler, Opposition Education Critic and MHA for the District of Port
De Grave, says the public library system in this province is underfunded,
and government should address this problem immediately.
national average for funding of public library systems by provincial
governments is $34 per person, this province lags far behind at
approximately $18 per person," said Mr. Butler. "Unless government increases
its funding of the province’s public library system, the people of the
province will lose out. Public libraries are used by more people for more
varied tasks than is generally realized. Therefore, their importance to the
people of the province cannot be overstated."
In the 2004-05 operating year, libraries in the province circulated over
1.5 million items to its users in the province. In addition, over 350,000
reference requests were processed and over 3,000 programs were offered. On
computers alone, users logged over 475,000 sessions for various things such
as accessing the federal employment insurance program, renewing their
vehicle registrations, and completing online distance education courses.
"As more and more services are offered through libraries, ensuring
problem-free access to the people of the province must be a priority of the
government. There are currently 22 requests pending from towns wishing to
have their own libraries. It is clear that government must provide
sufficient funding to improve current services at existing locations, and
also consider bringing services to more people.
"According to the Provincial Information & Library Resources Board,
government’s lack of funding is making adequate service provision
increasingly more difficult. The premier should know the value of access to
informational materials. If he wants to foster an innovative and dynamic
society in this province, government must begin addressing the problems that
exist with our library services."