THUNDER BAY – The Ontario Government has slashed budgets to Ontario Library Services North (OLS North) and Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS) by approximately fifty percent. This cut will have a serious impact on libraries across the province. OLS North supports the Thunder Bay Public Library and all other Northern Libraries (from the Manitoba border, east to Sudbury and north to James Bay) including many First Nations Public Libraries and libraries in remote and rural communities. SOLS supports Public Library services in southern Ontario.
OLS North provides support to public libraries in a number of ways, from running the interlibrary loan service to offering training, professional development opportunities and consulting services to Library staff and Boards. OLS North also works with online e-resource vendors to offer consortium buying to Northern Libraries for more affordable access to E-books and other online resources.
TBPL has been notified that interlibrary loan service support through SOLS and OLS North has been suspended until at least May 31st. This will impact TBPL patrons, as they make excellent use of this service, borrowing 1076 items from other libraries in 2018. If TBPL purchased all of these items, instead of borrowing them from other Libraries, our collections budget would have to increase by at least $32,000.
Library members across the province, particularly in Northern Ontario, borrowed 2145 items from Thunder Bay Public Library in the same year. Interlibrary loan service helps to supplement collections for all libraries as they simply can’t afford to buy every new book or audiovisual item in every format desired by library members. This service helps to ensure that everyone, no matter where they live, has access to the materials they need to learn, grow and prosper.
Other impacts of these budget cuts are unknown at this time and TBPL will continue to keep the public and Library members informed.