Program cuts and layoff notices at Saskatchewan libraries can be rescinded now that government has restored the funding cuts made in the budget.
On Monday, Education Minister Don Morgan announced government made a mistake, heard the protests and had a change of heart.
“We had already made some decisions but we are looking at getting back to business as usual as much as possible to where we were in March,” James Richards with Southeast Regional Library explained.
That meant the six workers who were given layoff notices at Palliser Regional Library can continue working.
“They were entitled to eight weeks of severance which they were working and so they are still in their jobs and basically they just continue on,” Jan Smith with Palliser explained.
The nine workers served layoff notice at Chinook Regional Library will also stay in their positions.
For those who fought the library cuts, like Heather Landine who wrote to her local MLA, the government announcement is welcome news.
“It very much is a generational thing, people always are using the library to access the internet, to do job research, to work on their resumes, this is not just for kids, this is access and a safe place for everybody,” Landine argued.
But the funding reprieve is only for the 2017-18 budget year. Now Morgan wants to begin conversations about the services being provided by libraries and how best that can be funded.
“Just so much has changed in the province, we’ve got to not so much look at the The Library Act of 1996 but look at what library services are to the province, what is now important,” Smith argued. “The internet definitely is a factor but libraries have their place, as do books, as do e-resources, as do everything else libraries are into.”
The budget saw $4.8 million cut from library funding, but that is now fully restored.