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Government Failing Communities and Families That Rely on Libraries


For Immediate Release

August 4, 2023


NL NDP Leader Jim Dinn, MHA for St. John’s Centre, is calling on government to acknowledge the importance of Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries (NLPL) to families, seniors, and communities by committing to a long-term plan to strengthen and improve access to public libraries across the province and expand the services they offer.


The number of users accessing NLPLs increased by 70% during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that rate has stayed consistent ever since. NLPLs had over 5500 users sign up for a new card online from the start of the pandemic to today.


“The NL NDP understands the value public libraries provide to the families that rely on them and has long advocated for greater investment,” said Dinn. “It’s disheartening to see that over the past decade, Liberal governments refused to properly invest,” said Dinn. “Public libraries offer so much more than books; they are a community hub, and offer services like internet training, which is important as many government services like motor registration and healthcare appointments have moved online.”


In spite of growth in users and persisting use post-pandemic, Government chooses to keep the budget for NLPL at 2012 levels. There has not been additional funds to offset inflation and operation costs since before 1999. In January of this year, before the budget was released, Furey said that his government could not commit to additional funding for NLPL.


“We know there is a rising cost for materials, such as books and eBooks, and the cost of rent for libraries that are not in community or government buildings,” said Dinn. “Current and past Liberal and Conservative governments show they are not interested in investing in libraries, into spaces that offer education and entertainment to strengthen communities.


“Libraries offer a place that parents can go with their children for books or games, or a place where people can take classes and learn a new skill, all for free with a library card,” said Dinn. “We will continue to see a rise in use as people struggle to make ends.


“It is time for government to focus on a long term plan to fund public libraries properly and strengthen the library system for the benefit of everyone in our province.”


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For further information, contact Eddy St. Coeur, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), or eddystcoeur@gov.nl.ca


NR 04082023 Government Failing Communities and Families That Rely on Libraries
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