In Wake of Strong Protest, Ontario’s Ford Government Restores At Least Some Public Library Service Funding

Funding for Inter-Library Loan Program to Resume this June 1st

A Brief News Commentary from Doug Draper, followed by Statements from Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff and Ontario Library Services – South and North

Posted May 31st, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Ann McKibbon, a Wainfleet resident and professor emeritus at McMaster University’s medical school, was one of the book club members who had the police called on her at the constituency office of Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff for protesting cuts to libraries. Her mother helped found the library in Wainfleet. Here, at the constituency office of Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch where members of the group met to discuss their experience at the Oosterhoff office, she is holding a book by Dr. Seuss. Oosterhoff quoted Dr. Seuss  earlier this May after he was out on the lawns of Queen’s Park, supporting an anti-abortion rally. Photo by Doug Draper

Of all of the many cuts Ontario Doug Ford ‘s self-described “Government for the People” has made to public services over its first 11 months – so many that it is getting harder and harder to keep track – few in recent weeks has received as much media attention as the funding cuts Ford and company have made to public libraries.

The publicity library cuts have received is in no small part due to the outrageous spectacle earlier this May of a group of mostly senior members of a Niagara-based book club staging what they called a “read-in” at the constituency office of Niagara West MPP and Ford government member Sam Oosterhoff, only to have police called on them.

Three police officers arrived to find the decidedly peaceful group of about 15 book club members standing around, each holding a book in their hands. To no one’s surprise, police concluded that the group had done “nothing wrong.” An apology was requested but about the most Oosterhoff would say in response is that the episode was “unfortunate” and could possibly have been handled differently.

Late this Friday, May 31st afternoon, Oosterhoff issued a statement that at least some of the cuts to libraries, including inter-library loan services – have been rolled back.

This is a story in progress, however, and we have yet to hear from opposition parties in the province and others, following a closer look at what exactly the Ford government has now decided to fund or restore funds to with respect to our community libraries.

So Niagara At Large will be posting more on this later. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, here is Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff’s latest statement on the issue, followed by one issued late this May 31st by representatives of public library services in the province –

Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West:

Niagara West MPP and Ford government member Sam Oosterhoff

“I have had the opportunity to meet with constituents regarding our recently announced changes in library funding. I want to thank those who expressed their concerns to me and reiterate that I am here to represent them.

“I’m happy to announce that a resolution has been reached with both OLS-N (Ontario Library Service – North) and SOLS (Southern Ontario Library Service), restoring the inter-library loan program effective June 1st.

“Following extensive consultation work, OLS-N and SOLS have identified opportunities to modernize and find efficiencies within their operations

“None of the efficiencies affect front line service to customers. Library users will continue to enjoy the same level of service as they have come to expect at their local libraries.

“No additional funding has been provided to either organization – budgets remain the same as originally provided in the 2019 budget.”

A Joint Statement from the Southern Ontario Library Service and the Ontario Library Service – North

Over the last month, the Southern Ontario Library Service and Ontario Library Service – North have worked with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport to revise our 2019-20 budgets to achieve a common goal.

That goal was to focus on programs that have the greatest impact to public libraries and their users. As a result of that work, a solution has been found to restore inter-library loan services across the province beginning on June 1, 2019.

Both library service organizations will provide partial reimbursement to libraries for delivery costs through Canada Post. This will preserve the online system libraries use to coordinate the program, ensuring that this key service continues to reach Ontario communities.

The inter-library loan program is an important tool that allows libraries to share their catalogues, connecting people with the books they want to read – regardless of where they are in the province.

We will continue to work with our partners, including local libraries, library organizations and the ministry, to deliver the services that our communities rely on.

  • Mellissa D’Onofrio-Jones Barbara Franchetto OLS – North SOLS CEO/ Directrice Générale CEO/ Directrice Générale

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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders



2 responses to “In Wake of Strong Protest, Ontario’s Ford Government Restores At Least Some Public Library Service Funding

  1. We all need to keep in mind that if there is a catastrophic win for Scheer -Ford and Kenney will be further emboldened and enabled by Scheer. We are seeing deception and duplicity in spades here – his maliciousness will return with a venegance. – Linda Babb


  2. Gary Screaton Page

    I could be wrong. However, I’d be surprised if Doug Ford, like Donald Trump, is not much of a reader. If you don’t read many books, you don’t appreciate their worth. However, not appreciating their worth to him, Ford should not overlook their worth to those who do read! Maybe, just maybe, he is beginning to see the light! Miracles do happen.


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