Joined by author Yann Martel and seven other Canadian authors, Think City is urging citizens to sign a new petition online calling for the restoration of library grants.
"You can't cut provincial library grants by 22 per cent without seeing a dramatic impact on library services," said Think City chair Neil Monckton. "Today, with the help of prominent Canadian authors, we are launching our online petition through Facebook and Twitter to encourage the public to visit www.stoplibrarycutsnow.ca and send a message to the Premier that BC's libraries matter."
"Libraries are the memories of a literate society," said Man Booker Prize winning author Yann Martel. "Without libraries, a literate society has no future because it can't pass on its knowledge, or amuse its children, for that matter."
Martel has also recorded a voice message to be broadcast to nearly 20,000 households in Vancouver asking people to sign Think City's online petition against the cuts to library grants. Well-known Canadian authors Steven Galloway, Susan Juby, Chris Humphreys, Shaena Lambert, Mark Leiren-Young, Andreas Schroeder, and Arthur Slade have also signed-on to support Think City's petition.
"By cutting core library services that have been publicly funded for 90 years, the BC Liberal government is attacking one of the cornerstones of democracy in this province," said Monckton. "The provincial government grants have been essential for funding local libraries in British Columbia since 1919, they pay for the provincial library network that allows all libraries in BC to share resources and provide services that community libraries would otherwise not be able to afford."
Funding for public libraries was a key priority identified in Think City's 2009 Citizen Budget survey of Vancouver residents. Out of 1,754 people surveyed, 92.1 per cent said they supported increasing or maintaining funding for civic libraries and 51.5 per cent said that public libraries are a very important policy priority.
Provincial library grants support services such as interlibrary loans, online resources and subscriptions for magazines and newspapers, literacy programs, and the BC OneCard that allows borrowers access to all libraries in BC. The loss of 22 per cent of library grants will result in reduced hours, cuts in service, fewer acquisitions, fewer on-line resources and subscriptions, and reduced investment in current technology.
Source: Think City, Sept. 01, 2009