Funding for two library services cut as Queen’s Park continues to cut costs

Interlibrary loan delivery to cease

Libraries across Ontario are lamenting cuts in provincial funding to two services – Southern Ontario Library Service and Northern Ontario Library Service.

Barbara Franchetto, CEO of Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS), says the service will need to cut $1.5 million from its approximately $3 million annual budget this year. As a result, the SOLS interlibrary loan delivery service will permanently cease to operate, effective April 26.

“I know this is very sad and disappointing news but given the enormity of the cut to our operating budget, there is no alternative. Even under our previous budget allocation, it was becoming difficult to sustain the service because of ever increasing operating costs.”

– Barbara Franchetto

The end of the SOLS delivery service means 24 drivers (full time, part time and occasional) will lose their jobs. Last year, they drove almost 1 million kilometres to deliver over 710,000 packages to 153 main library branches across southern Ontario.

This does not affect anyone’s ability to borrow books or make use of other library services.

Social media reaction to the cuts has been mixed.

Tourism, Culture and Sport Minister Michael Tibollo has defended the cuts saying they are part of the government’s efforts to deal with the deficit, noting the Southern and Northern Ontario Library Services are arm’s length agencies with no involvement in the day-to-day operations of Ontario’s public libraries.