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Local Libraries Revolutionize Services Amid Funding Shortages, Igniting Urgent Plea for Support

Local Libraries Revolutionize Services Amid Funding Shortages, Igniting Urgent Plea for Support

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the important role that libraries play in communities, but funding has not kept up with the increased demand for their services.

In our upcoming EcoReporter segment, we will be discussing the issue of underfunding in local libraries, using the recent report by the Canadian Urban Libraries Council and the Canadian Urban Institute as a reference. The report highlights the evolution of libraries during the pandemic and the lack of funding to support their expanded services.

According to Sue Perry, manager of public services at the central branch of the Windsor Public Library, libraries have taken on additional roles during the pandemic, but have not received the necessary funding to support these services. Perry emphasizes that libraries are traditionally underfunded, and Windsor has the lowest per-capita funded libraries in Ontario.

The CUI report makes three recommendations to public policy makers: relieve current operational pressures to ensure libraries remain safe, accessible, and welcoming; treat libraries as critical infrastructure and fund them to deliver government priorities; and formalize sustainable investment streams that recognize their expanding role.

Mary W. Rowe, president of CUI, suggests that provincial and federal governments should provide steady funding contributions to Canada’s 652 library systems. She compares libraries to the post office, stating that they are a vital part of our economic, cultural, and social livelihood.

Perry encourages individuals to support their local libraries by using their services and not forgetting about them. While individual contributions and memorial donations are always welcome, the best way to support libraries is by utilizing their resources and spreading awareness of their importance.

In our commentary, we will explore the impact of underfunding on libraries and the potential consequences for communities. We will also discuss the need for sustainable funding models and the role that libraries play in promoting community resilience. By shedding light on this issue, we hope to raise awareness and encourage action to ensure that libraries receive the funding they need to continue serving their communities effectively.

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