NLLA Urges Provincial Government to Repeal Book Tax

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book taxThe provincial government’s controversial new book tax came into effect January 1, adding an extra 10% tax on all books sold in the province, making Newfoundland and Labrador the only province in Canada to tax books.

Today, the NLLA released a statement which was also sent to Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board, MHA Cathy Bennett, and to Premier Dwight Ball:

The Newfoundland and Labrador Library Association urges the provincial government to reinstate the HST Point of Sale Rebate on books purchased by individuals. Removing this rebate amounts to an increase of an extra 10% sales tax on books. This additional tax will provide little income for the province but will have lasting ramifications for the citizens of this province.

Newfoundland and Labrador has a notoriously low literacy rate, one of the lowest in Canada, and this tax is a further barrier to improving this rate. With the recent closure of Literacy NL in 2015 due to budget cuts, affordable access to books is essential in combating illiteracy and a tax on books is a step backwards. The provincial government must make education and literacy priorities for its citizens and an increased tax on books does not support such goals.

The impact on this tax will be most keenly felt by students and those with lower incomes. Text books are notoriously, sometimes prohibitively, expensive and the additional tax will prove difficult for a struggling student population. Literacy should not be considered a luxury, yet in these difficult economic times, this may become a reality for lower income families.

The book tax also hurts our provincial authors, publishers, and local independent booksellers. In a time of economic crisis, we need to support our local businesses and creative artists rather than impede them. In a province so well known for its storytelling heritage, and with many award winning authors, it is disheartening that the government is making it more difficult for citizens to access their literary heritage.

No other province has recognized any benefit in placing a tax on books and literacy. Books are resources that improve the lives of our citizens. Moreover, literate and educated citizens are essential for the creation of a successful and thriving economy. The NLLA questions how the government can justify becoming the first province in Canada to apply a provincial tax to books when it is clear that there are so many negative consequences? We strongly urge you to repeal this book tax for the benefit of all citizens in Newfoundland and Labrador.

NLLA President, Krista Godfrey, is available to speak with media.

 

The province’s book tax in the news:

LTAIG Conference Program Feature: Health Sciences Historical Collection

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vintage anatomy drawingYou won’t want to miss our Library Technicians and Assistants Interest Group (LTAIG) conference, next week. We have a great program, including a presentation by Karen Darby on how she inventoried Memorial University’s Health Sciences Library Historical Collection. From project plan to completed inventory, have you found secret treasures in your library? Ever wonder how to initiate a project you are interested in doing in the library? The Health Sciences Library historical collection provided both treasures and planning experience.

Our annual, one-day LTAIG conference will take place on Monday, November 7, and is free to current NLLA members. Its not too late to register online and join us for a fun and informative day of conversation and networking with your colleagues across the province and the country!

LTAIG Conference Program Feature: Assistive Technologies

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assistive technologyAt the upcoming Library Technicians and Assistants Interest Group (LTAIG) conference, Meaghan Malone will present Enabling Access: Assistive Technologies at the QEII Library.

As the number of Memorial University students who self-identify as having a disability grows, so, too, does the demand for improved library accessibility. But rather than equate “assistive technology” (AT) exclusively with “users with disabilities,” why not consider the ways that all users can benefit from AT? This session will look at the assistive technology services currently being offered in the QEII Library, as well as plans to further improve patrons’ access to resources.

Our annual, one-day LTAIG conference will take place on Monday, November 7, and is free to current NLLA members. You can register online to join us for a fun and informative day of conversation and networking with your colleagues across the province and the country!

NLLA General Meeting Nov 7: All Members Welcome to Attend

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general meetingA general meeting of the NLLA membership will be held on Monday, November 7, at 1:30 pm in the Community Room of the A.C. Hunter Children’s Library, located on the first floor of the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre (at the corner of Allandale Road and the Prince Phillip Parkway).

All current NLLA members are welcome to attend.

The meeting will be held in conjunction with the annual Library Technicians and Assistants Interest Group (LTAIG) conference.

LTAIG Conference Program Feature: Dancing Documents

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Dancing documentsWe have a great program at our upcoming Library Technicians and Assistants Interest Group (LTAIG) conference which will feature Colleen Quigley performing her piece, Dancing Documents.

Colleen Quigley is the Manuscripts Librarian and Acting Head for the Performing Arts Collection at the Archives and Special Collections at Memorial University’s QEII Library in St. John’s. She also holds a BFA in Dance from York University. She has worked as a performer, dance instructor and choreographer worldwide and has participated in Canadian think tanks, panels, and exhibitions on the preservance and other aspects of the performing arts.

Dancing Documents addresses a myriad of issues relating to the archiving and preservation of performing arts material. This 20-minute dance is light-hearted, informative and sparks much audience discussion.

Our annual, one-day LTAIG conference will take place on Monday, November 7, and is free to current NLLA members. You can register online to join us for a fun and informative day of conversation and networking with your colleagues across the province and the country!

LTAIG Conference Program Feature: Writers Alliance of NL

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WANLAt the upcoming Library Technicians and Assistants Interest Group (LTAIG) conference Denise Flint, President of the Writers Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador (WANL) will be presenting about “Read Ins”.

Flint, alongside author and WANL member Paul Butler, coordinated a series of read-ins in support of public libraries in Newfoundland facing closure in the wake of the 2016 provincial budget. Local authors who are current members of WANL have shown support for our libraries by reading their work in libraries all across the province; “We’re committed to showing our continued support of our invaluable libraries!”

Our annual, one-day LTAIG conference will take place on Monday, November 7, and is free to current NLLA members. You can register online to join us for a fun and informative day of conversation and networking with your colleagues across the province and the country!

NLLA Disappointed but Unsurprised by Public’s Reaction to Library Consultation

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NLLA was initially pleased that the provincial government kept its promise to consult the public, and that our association was contacted directly by EY, the company hired to conduct the review. Members of NLLA will be meeting with the reviewers in locations across the province this month.

Although we strongly believe in the importance of public consultation and encouraged the public to participate in one of the roundtable sessions and the online survey, we had concerns about the process that the province outlined in its September 30 announcement. NLLA member, Crystal Rose, spoke with media on October 4th, questioning the validity of the consultation process and outlining some of the association’s chief concerns. We were dismayed that there was little advance notice for the public sessions. With less than a week’s notice before the first sessions, we question how the review can gather comprehensive data regarding the proposed library closures.

NLLA is also concerned that none of the libraries slated for possible closure is included on the list of locations for consultation. We strongly urge the reviewers to go directly to the communities that would be affected by the proposed closures, in addition to the ten scheduled public roundtable sessions.

Furthermore, we are gravely concerned by the lack of library representation on the steering committee to whom the consultants will deliver their review. There are no individuals outside of the Provincial Information and Library Resources Board, the body who originally suggested that the best way to deal with the budget deficit was to close 54 libraries, or outside of Provincial government on the steering committee. There are no members of the committee who currently work in public libraries, and no representatives from the province’s library association. There are few librarians and no library staff in the group. It is essential that the views and concerns of librarians and library workers be addressed in the review process.

NLLA was unsurprised by the negative public reaction to the recent roundtable consultation session held in St. John’s this past Thursday evening. Significantly underestimating the number of people who would attend and using a consulting firm to control the discussion with a rigid question and answer format has left the people of Newfoundland and Labrador with the impression that the provincial government is not fully committed to a truly consultative process.

We believe that a review of our province’s public library system is an important task and we strongly encourage the reviewers to widely consult all those who will be affected by the decisions and outcomes of this review.

News coverage of the province’s library consultation process
Government’s library review implodes in spectacular fashionThe Independent, Oct. 7, 2016
Dale Kirby re-evaluating library sessions after angry walkoutCBC News, Oct. 7, 2016
A national disgrace: Heated crowd walks out of public library consultationCBC News, Oct. 7, 2016
Library Association member questions validity of consultation processNor’Wester, Oct. 4, 2016