Ontario Provincial Funding for Public Libraries
Several weeks ago, the Provincial Expenditure Estimates were released, setting out the details of the operating and capital spending requirements of Ministries and Legislative Offices for the fiscal year commencing April 1, 2019, based on the 2019-20 Ontario Budget. The estimates for the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport can be found here.
Concurrently, Minister Michael Tibollo announced that the province is maintaining its base funding for public libraries. We can now confirm that the following specific investments for public libraries remain unchanged from the previous year, as follows:
- Over $21 million in operating funding, including the Public Library Operating Grant (PLOG), Pay Equity funding and the First Nations Salary Supplement;
- Approximately $900,000 to support access to resources for print disabilities through the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA);
- $460,000 for connectivity funding;
- $40,000 to support ongoing sector initiatives through the Ontario Library Association
As you are aware, we shared information regarding reductions in provincial funding to Southern Ontario Library Services and Ontario Library Services – North in a previous advocacy alert.
Since that time, we have had the opportunity to meet with Minister Tibollo, his staff and representatives of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport on this important issue.
OLA and FOPL continue to work with the ministry, SOLS, OLS-N and the public library sector to ensure that Ontario’s public and First Nations Libraries can provide the services and resources that their residents rely upon and that enrich our local communities.
We greatly appreciate the comments, information and letters our members have shared with us. They have and will continue to be tremendously helpful in contextualizing these important conversations and providing a full picture of the impact that these centralized library services have on your libraries and the people you serve.
School Libraries and Grants for Student Needs
OLA continues to monitor school library staffing reduction in school boards across Ontario as a result of changes to class sizes. We are aware of a number of school boards that have made the decision to further reduce staffing in school libraries resulting, in some cases, in a closure of the school library. We encourage members to record these impacts here.