As you all are aware, due to the financial circumstances of the province, difficult budget decisions had to be made. The reduction in library funding was one of these decisions. The 2017-18 budget for the provincial library system was reduced by $4.84 million.
Regional and municipal libraries were particularly affected. Municipal libraries (Regina and Saskatoon) did not receive any funding in 2017-18. This represents a 2.75% reduction in the Regina Public Library’s operating budget, and a 3% reduction for the Saskatoon Public Library. Regional libraries saw a reduction of $3.5 million, from $6.02 million in 2016-17, to $2.5 million in 2017-18.
It is important to note that provincial grants do not support local branch operations, which are the responsibility of the local municipality.
We want to work with our libraries to adjust how they deliver their services with the available funding levels. Our focus is on supporting things such as electronic resources, interlibrary loans and community net. It is our hope that local libraries will work with their municipalities and school divisions to find new ways of delivering services.