Make public library an election issue

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The Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library Board asks users and supporters of public library services to show their support on the doorstep this election. The Library Board will be giving bright yellow door hangers to the public. They have a simple message, “Dear Candidate: Public libraries are important to me, my family, and my community!”

Troy MacCulloch, chair of the Regional Library Board explains, “In the past eight years, public libraries have received less than a one percent increase to their core operating funding. All parties have promised to fix this, many reports have been written, but little has been accomplished. We need an increase in core funding, distributed fairly, and with a long term vision.”

Public libraries in Nova Scotia are funded by grants from the province and municipalities while library boards are required to raise funds locally. With these funds the library board purchases both print and electronic materials and employs staff to build services and programs. The library buildings are maintained by the municipalities.

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Eric Stackhouse, chief librarian for the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library said, “We have transitioned our libraries and services to learning and social community hubs, with a variety of experiences from reading to technology. We have offered successive governments’ innovative, collaborative ways to efficiently deliver citizen and community services. Our goal is to work together for the success of the community, but to do so we need increased core funding, not one time funds or grants, and a willingness to look at new approaches that involve government.”

With an election underway, the Board is asking users to help raise the issue on the doorstep with a simple act of support: Place a door hanger on your home or business, talk to candidates and ask them if their party will commit to increased core operating funding to libraries.

Hangers are available at all branches of the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library or can be obtained by contacting the library board at 1-866-779-7761 or info@parl.ns.ca.