Many book lovers will soon feel the impact of Ontario funding cuts.
The provincial government is cutting funding for two library services by 50 per cent, which officials say will wipe out the inter-library book loan program. Last week, the Ford government cut funding to the North and South Ontario Library Services, a provincial agency that supports collaboration and cooperation between public libraries.
Patricia Enright, the chief librarian and CEO of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library, described the program.
“The service that they provide is kind of the software to make our request, but also they provide inter-library loan courier service,” Enright said.
“So we would borrow books — say from from Toronto — it would be put in the courier and it would be delivered to us.”
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Enright says it’s a service that Kingston libraries have used a great deal. In fact, in 2018, about 4,500 items were borrowed from other libraries. Enright says that while Kingston will feel the pinch, it’s the smaller libraries that will be hurt the most — places like the Perth and District Union Public Library.
Erika Heesen is the chief librarian and CEO in Perth.
“We borrow on average 300 items a month from other libraries throughout Ontario,” Heesen said. “For our community, it means that we’re not going to be able to have access to the same kind of information that you would get in a larger city.”
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The inter-library loan delivery service will cease to operate later this week.