There was an outpouring of support last night for librarians and library staff facing lay-offs in the province’s public library system. At a town hall-style meeting in Corner Brook, facilitated by MHA for St. John’s East, George Murphy, and MHA for the Straits-White Bay North, Christopher Mitchelmore, more than 30 people voiced concerns about the provincial budget.
Coverage of the meeting was featured this morning on the CBC Radio West Coast Morning Show, including comments by NLLA Past-President, Crystal Rose. Listen to the full podcast, “Town Hall Meeting on the Effects of the Budget“.
The story was also front page news in the Western Star. The article, “Concerns for the Future“, tells the personal stories of laid-off Librarians Jessica Prince, Melissa Feaver, and Darryl Squires. Feaver was understandably emotional as she spoke of being laid-off while on maternity leave, leaving several people in the room in tears. Murphy thanked the librarians for their stories and told them to “keep up the fight”. Mitchelmore added that they “need to educate the public whenever and wherever they can”.
Later this morning, CBC Radio interviewed Shawn Tetford, Executive Director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries. Tetford said the lay-offs will mean reductions to services and library hours, with staff hours being reduced. When asked if there will be more lay-offs, in addition to the 16 jobs already cut, Tetford responded, “there will”, and indicated part-time staff positions will be targeted. Listen to the full interview “Libraries Without Librarians“.
News of even more lay-offs in our already under-staffed and under-funded public libraries is deeply troubling. Please voice your concern to Education Minister Clyde Jackman through our take action form.