Photos by Míra Aujeská
The Council of Canadians Prince Albert chapter participated in the “Drop Everything and Read Saskatchewan” day of action today.
CTV reports, “More than 70 ‘Drop Everything and Read’ (DEAR) protests took place in front of libraries and MLA offices across Saskatchewan on Friday. Participants were encouraged to drop everything and read a book outside the offices for 15 minutes over the noon hour.” Save Sask Libraries adds, “Thousands of people participated to ask the Saskatchewan government restore funding to libraries.”
The action in Prince Albert took place outside Joe Hargrave’s constituency office. Hargrave is an MLA with the governing Saskatchewan Party and is the Minister of Crown Investments Corporation, Saskatchewan Government Insurance, and Saskatchewan Transportation Company.
The provincial government of Premier Brad Wall delivered its budget — which included an almost $5 million cut to public libraries — on March 22.
That budget announced the Regina Public Library would lose $600,000 in funding through the elimination of its provincial grant. The provincial budget also eliminated $651,200 in funding for the Saskatoon Public Library. The seven regional libraries – in Chinook, Lakeland, Palliser, Parkland, Southeast, Wapiti and Wheatland – are to be cut by $3.5 million.
The Regina Leader Post reports, “For most library districts in the province, provincial funding has been cut between 50 and 60 per cent. The funding decrease will now result in staff cuts and an impact on services to many rural libraries.”
And the Saskatoon Star Phoenix notes, “Helen McCutcheon, director of the Parkland Regional Library that oversees branches in eastern Saskatchewan, said the budget cuts will mean job losses, decreases in services and fewer materials purchased for the regional library’s 55 branches.”
Rhonda Heisler, CUPE library sector coordinator, says, “The Saskatchewan Government’s cuts to libraries will have a devastating impact on the many people who use library services and the many hard working and dedicated public servants who work in libraries.”