The Blue Mountains Public Library (BMPL) Board is very disappointed to learn of the cuts by the provincial government to the Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS) and Ontario Library Service-North (OLS-N). With a slash in their provincial budget by more than 50% there have been immediate impacts to the library users throughout Ontario, including here. The first announcement by SOLS was the suspension of the Inter-Library Loan Ontario (ILLO) service. The loss of ILLO will profoundly impact BMPLs service level as we receive 4,041 materials annually through this program. As of the Thursday, April 18thannouncement we have recalled 150 ILLOs which were in the hands of our readers and fear the costs for mailing unreturned items following the end of SOLS delivery service when SOLS will lay-off their 24 drivers.
Indirectly, the loss of ILLO also impacts our book clubs which we are no longer able to support. We have always counted on ILLO to service these programs as we cannot supply the multiple copies of a book through our own collections. This is a direct impact to 15 book clubs with over 150 members and 1,800 materials annually.
BMPL receive services from the Ontario Library Service-North (OLS-N), which was also cut by the province at over 50%. Direct impact to our community will be the loss of a portion of our DVD, large print, and print books, which were all in the provincial pool rotation. While we have not heard of any cuts to their programs, we know that the pools depend on SOLS for the delivery, which ends effective April 26th.
We assume there will be further announcements as SOLS and OLS-N works to identify how to meet this extraordinary cut. SOLS is also the responsible agency for supporting our connectivity expenses, e-resources, audio/e-books, and training for the library board and staff. OLS-N manages the provincial catalogue which 118 of the 227 libraries in Ontario, including BMPL, participate. The province created SOLS and OLS-N as agencies to ensure efficient, equitable access to resource sharing which helps us stretch every dollar for many decades now. This need has not lessened over the years, but rather, has become an entrenched function of the Ontario public libraries.
We have seen similar cuts to libraries in recent history. The Newfoundland / Labrador and Saskatchewan budget cuts of 2016 and 2017 respectively were both overturned when the public outcry reverberated through the halls of parliament. Your library board and staff hope that you will act by informing the Hon. Michael Tibollo, the Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson, and the Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP, Bill Walker that these cuts must be reversed. For Ontario to be a successful province, Our Public Libraries must be Open for Business!
Please consider writing to the Minister of Tourism Culutre & Sport, Premier, or your MPPs.
Hon. Michael Tibollo, Minister of Tourism, Culture & Sport. email@example.com
6th Flr, 438 University Ave, Toronto, ON M5G 2K8 416-326-9326
Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario. firstname.lastname@example.org
Legislative Building. Queen's Park. Toronto ON M7A 1A1 416-325-1941
Jim Wilson, MPP. Simcoe-Grey. email@example.com
50 Hume St. Collingwood, ON L9Y 1V2 705-446-1090
Bill Walker, MPP. Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound. firstname.lastname@example.org
920 1st Avenue West, Suite 100. Owen Sound, ON N4K 4K5 519-371-2421
This FAQ document was prepared to answer some questions about what SOLS and OLS-N do for BMPL and how this cut will impact our community,
BMPL sent a letter to the Minister on April 24th and on April 29th received a cc'd letter from MPP Jim Wilson directed to the Minister. Please feel free to use items from this letter or the FAQ document and write to the press or the Provincial Government on this matter.
The following response was provided by MPP Jim Wilson pertaining to this matter:
Response from Minister Tibollo:
Despite reports in the media, our government is maintaining base funding for our libraries across the province.
It’s also important to note that the library services organizations’ budget is not being cut by 50%. We are proposing a reduction of the government’s contribution to the library services, not their entire budget.
One area where there should be efficiencies found is the running of an inter-library loan and delivery program. While the concept is admirable, couriering books on demand by vans between different library boards across Southern and Northern Ontario is actually slow, inefficient, environmentally unfriendly, and expensive, now that digital resources are available.
This has no involvement in the day-to-day operations of Ontario’s public libraries.
We recognize that libraries are important to local and remote communities, and they provide valuable opportunities to learn and share in Ontario’s diverse culture.
We have offered and continue to look forward to work collaboratively with the library services organizations to identify ways to ensure programs and services continue to operate efficiently.