Last spring the much anticipated Ernst and Young (EY) report on the Provincial Information and Library Resources Board (PILRB) was released. The Newfoundland and Labrador Library Association (NLLA) saw many gaps in that report, which left more questions than answers. The association has expressed concerns with this report when it first came out. However, one major EY recommendation with which the NLLA agreed was the need for a multi-year plan that detailed how to resolve existing challenges in the underfunded PILRB.
The much anticipated response from PILRB to the EY report, the first Future State Plan, has now been released and is currently with the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development awaiting budgetary approval.
The Future State Plan is a multi year approach to fixing the system and starts with a 1.7 million increase. This is not new funding; it is a restoration of funding provided to the PILRB prior to funding cuts in 2013. As the plan indicates, these additional funds are essential in order for the PILRB to increase library hours and staffing throughout the province; and to invest in new books and library resources.
The NLLA believes that the Future State Plan is a great start, and we hope to see our provincial government invest in the future of libraries in Newfoundland and Labrador, by first accepting all budget recommendations outlined in this document.
The NLLA will review this document extensively and respond with further inquiries and thoughts in the coming weeks.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Library Association recognizes and would like to commend all those involved in the substantial work that went into the Future State Plan. We look forward to engaging in collaborative discussion on the future of public libraries in the province.