Attached is a link to FOPL’s and OLA’s Joint submission for the Ministry of Finance’s 2016 Pre-Budget Consultations. A number of members are also using this document in their local consultation events.
Recommendations Executive Summary:
Each of these recommendations is outlined in more detail in the formal submission.
- Restoration of the funding for e-resources to public libraries as well as increased funding through a partnership between the relevant ministries to support education in this province. Public Libraries are a key piece of the infrastructure for continuous learning, early literacy, homeschooling and independent learning and K-12 homework. Research on the positive impact of libraries on Early Years / Early Literacy / Early Learning is clear. Despite this fact, all funding for public libraries has come solely through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities should recognize that their path to student success must involve funding and programs for the only accessible information infrastructure in every Ontario community. A joint funding program for digital resources that crosses the boundaries between schools and public libraries is needed to address the needs of ALL Ontario communities.
- Increased, mandatory, sustainable funding for school libraries and staff to support the transition to digital resources. Research on the positive impact of School libraries shows that the staff and programs have a strong and positive influence on student performance. Programs that encourage joint partnerships between schools and public libraries should be funded and encouraged. Research on the positive impact of school libraries is clear and research shows that partnerships of this nature between school and public libraries delivers positive results. It is past the time where the province should lead by offering minimum foundational resources and standards for every school board and public library to create a seamless experience for our students aligned with their success in the 21st
- Eligibility for infrastructure funding for public libraries to renovate, build new branches, and become fully AODA compliant is needed now. Libraries are a provable economic engine in our communities. The budget process should consider ensuring that these vital 21st Century local institutions are ready for their communities.
- Public libraries are key culture hubs and deliver a very wide range of programs and activities as well as supporting Canadian authors and creators. This role should be recognized in funding eligibility and the need for new programs to ensure that grassroots artists, performers and artisans are funded beyond Ontario’s large premier institutions.
- Public libraries are Ontario’s primary community hubs. As such they contribute to the delivery of the Ontario government’s goals for e-government, policy and program delivery, education, and the attendant savings and productivity. Public libraries should be considered in all government funding and priorities as key partners in the delivery of provincial government policy goals. (For example, many public libraries are already delivering programs for new Canadians and refugees and have a long track record of positive success with Early Years programs.) Increasingly some families are able to receive access to innovative technologies such as 3D printers, drones, programmable robots, etc. These are hands-on learning opportunities that ought to be available to all and align with the STEAM education goals as well as develop creative spaces in every community.