The NLLA is extremely disappointed by Minister of Education, Clyde Jackman’s decision to close the St. Lunaire-Griquet Public Library. On December 31st, 2013, the library’s single employee retired and the library closed its doors. The Newfoundland and Labrador Public Library’s website officially lists the library as “temporarily” closed, but Straits-White Bay North MHA, Christopher Mitchelmore, fears the closure will be permanent.
The closure follows the provincial government’s $1.2 Million cut to the province’s public library system in early 2013 that resulted in the loss of 16 jobs and the reduction of staffing and hours in some libraries. According to Mitchelmore, the St. Lunaire-Griquet closure occurred despite assurances from the Minister to the contrary. The closure, which will force residents to travel to St. Anthony for library service where the library’s materials have been relocated, will save the province a mere $5,000 a year.
“We are concerned that this decision foreshadows the targeting of additional rural libraries for closure,” said NLLA President, Kathryn Rose. “We sincerely hope that this closure will indeed only be temporary and urge the Minister to rethink his decision, and continue invaluable library services to the rural community of St. Lunaire-Griquet.”
The NLLA is encouraging the public to contact their local MHA regarding this decision. Rose added, “We call on the Minister to reassure the residents of St. Lunaire-Griquet, and the rest of this province, that library services to rural communities will not be sacrificed to save a few dollars” and urged the Minister share his plans to provide continued public library services to Newfoundland and Labrador.