Provincial cuts to library services hurt small communities

Doug Ford and his PC government has set its sights on cuts to our services once again, this time with one that hurts small towns and rural areas the most by slashing the operating budget of the Southern Ontario Library Services by 50 per cent.

Having worked at the County of Prince Edward Public Library, I know what vital services SOLS provides to library patrons, specifically through inter-library loans, which allow the sharing of books between libraries.

Small community libraries cannot afford to buy all the books people want to read or that they need for school and research, so sharing between libraries across the province makes perfect sense as a way to keep costs down.

SOLS also delivers cost effective training for staff. Part of the PC’s $60 million cut to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, the actual savings through this ill-conceived move to cut library services is a fraction of that at a savings of only $2 million.

Many understand the need to reduce the deficit but there are many less harmful ways to save.

This government, however, that purports to be ‘for the people” is proving with its focus on buck-a-beer and tailgate drinking, while providing tax cuts to wealthy corporations, that is not “for the people” but “against the people”.

The massive cuts to education, health care, autism programs, social assistance programs and now libraries, are unacceptable.

The community is invited to a rally in Picton on May 1 at 4 p.m. at the Picton Cenotaph to send a message to Doug Ford and Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith that we reject these cuts and especially the most recent to our public libraries.

-Christine Renaud