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July 27, 2009

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O’Neill calls on Premier to confirm ’09 library grants

BURNABY—On the eve of a meeting between the Minister of Education and the BC Library Trustees Association (BCLTA) that could determine the outcome of funding for public libraries next year, the Canadian Union of Public Employees has written to Premier Gordon Campbell and the minister requesting that the BC Liberal government maintain or increase funding levels for library operating grants.

In a letter faxed earlier today, CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill cites the importance of provincial operating grants to many libraries’ ability to deliver quality services to the public.

“The grants help to finance a variety of provincial programs including open access, online resources, literacy training, AskAway, the BC OneCard, and other services,” the letter says.

“CUPE BC believes that the Provincial Government must maintain library grants to retain these valuable provincial programs and ensure continued access for all. In our opinion, the current level of provincial funding falls short of adequately funding these programs.”

O’Neill’s letter comes the day before Minister of Education Margaret McDiarmid meets with representatives of the BCLTA to discuss provincial funding of public libraries. O’Neill's letter calls the meeting “a perfect opportunity” for the government to demonstrate its commitment to public literacy by maintaining or increasing the operating grant for next year.

CUPE BC represents more than 2,600 public library employees in 25 public library systems across the province.

To read the full text of Barry’s letter.

For more information:

Stop BC Library Cuts

BCLTA website

cope 491


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