Pushback against province’s cuts to library services

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Many book lovers and other supporters of libraries are pushing back against the province’s decision to cut two library services.

Doug Ford’s PC government axed funding for the Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS) and the Ontario Library Service-North (OLSN), cutting their budgets in half for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

A change.org petition started after the cuts were announced Thursday, calling on the government to reverse its decision. Days since its launch, it has garnered more than 8,000 signatures.

Supporters point out that libraries offer more than just books and serve as communal spaces where people from all walks of life can congregate and spend some quality time surfing the internet, browsing the vast library book and other media collection and enjoy some mental stimulation on a dreary day. Ontarians have also taken to social media using the hashtag #SaveOurLibraries to protest the cuts.

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The cuts are already having an impact — SOLS has discontinued interlibrary loan delivery service, effective April 26. The loan service allowed libraries across the province to share books and gave rural communities access to some titles they don’t have otherwise.

SOLS delivered almost 710,000 packages to libraries between 2017 and 2018, according to a statement on the service’s website.

The funding cut means 24 drivers who delivered the interlibrary loans will lose their jobs, it added. -CINEWS

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