Since 2009, “One Card, One Library” services have provided equitable access to public library materials throughout the province of Saskatchewan. Using a shared online catalogue, it was possible for anyone with a valid Saskatchewan public library card to place holds on public library materials for free from anywhere within the province. Provincial funding paid for the cost of shipping public library materials from one library region to another, while within each library system, the costs of transporting library materials from a regional library headquarters to the local branches was the responsibility of each regional library system. This was an economical and efficient public library system that served the whole province of Saskatchewan.
Starting Monday, 10 April 2017, as a direct result of the recent provincial funding reductions to public libraries throughout Saskatchewan, it has been decided together by the Directors of Saskatchewan Information & Library Services [SILS], that for the foreseeable future, it will no longer be possible to place holds on any public library materials within Saskatchewan. Effective 4 April 2017, any library materials requested from libraries in other regions will not be filled unless it was already in transit.
Regrettably, this change is being implemented province-wide on very short notice, in order to adjust the level of reciprocal borrowing and lending services to the abruptly reduced funding. For example, Saskatoon Public Library and Regina Public Library lost all their provincial funding, so they now lack the resources needed to share their resources with other libraries around the province. Furthermore, due to the elimination of the public transportation system [the STC bus system] within the province of Saskatchewan on 1 May 2017, public libraries have no choice but to ask the public to personally return their library materials directly to the locations from which they were borrowed. Limiting access to library materials is directly contrary to the spirit of public libraries.
Interlibrary Loans, which is the borrowing and lending of library materials between provinces, will continue to be coordinated in Moose Jaw for the time being, because the provincial funding for Interlibrary Loans was not reduced.
On behalf of the more than 100 employees of Chinook Regional Library, we regret announcing reductions of our public library services. Last year we had significant growth in the use of the 32 libraries in our region. We are working together with the local library boards of our 32 library branches and the administrators of the 91 communities and rural municipalities within our library region to continue to look for ways to become more efficient.
The Annual General Meeting of the Chinook Regional Library will be held in Swift Current at 1 pm on Saturday 22 April 2017. The public is welcome to attend our AGM, and also, anyone is welcome to write a letter to us about our libraries.
Dr. Jean McKendry
Director, Chinook Regional Library
Source: Chinook Regional Library