Newfoundland and Labrador Library Association Dismayed at Government’s Lack of Concern for Literacy
It’s been a month since the Newfoundland and Labrador Library Association expressed our disappointment in the cuts to Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries. Nearly 200 people have contacted you and their local MHAs. Perhaps some more information will elicit a response.
In 2009/2010 (the latest year for which figures are available from Statistics Canada), only Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, and the three northern territories spent less on their public libraries than Newfoundland and Labrador. This might seem to make sense given our population size, but public libraries in most parts of Canada are funded by various levels of government – municipal, regional, and provincial. In Newfoundland and Labrador, public library funding comes primarily from the province. This puts us even further behind in the cross-provincial rankings, since library systems in most other provinces have access to other sources of government funding. We appreciate that the provincial government accepts responsibility for providing this public good, but they must carefully consider this responsibility.
Over half (55%) of this province’s citizens are not able to read and write at a level that allows them to function well in Canadian society according to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. How can the provincial government hope to improve the literacy rate in Newfoundland and Labrador while cutting funding to the provinces already-starved libraries?
The Newfoundland and Labrador Library Association demands a response. Just how is the government of Newfoundland and Labrador expecting a prosperous future without a literate population?