Ministry of Education representatives are meeting with regional library representatives this week in an attempt to stem the flow from the death blow the province dealt them with a 58 per cent cut to operational funding.

The Southeast Regional Library board voted to increase its per capita funding by $5.77 cents this past weekend at their annual general meeting in Weyburn. Weyburn mayor Marcel Roy said the city is legally required to pay that increased but without it the Southeast Regional Library, headquartered in Weyburn, would have been forced to close its doors by Labour Day.

A key service both the provincial government and regional libraries would like to see up and running again is the inter-library loan system. Regional libraries suspended the program because they no longer had the funds to run it.

DEARsask protest 3Wanda Barlett's reading choice was political at the DEAR Sask protests last Friday.

"If somebody wants a book in Lake Alma from Melfort right now what happens is that book goes from Melfort to the (regional library) headquarters in Prince Albert to the (regional library) headquarters in Weyburn and then out to Lake Alma. So we think that that can continue but why does it take that many steps that we're all paying for?" asked Weyburn-Big Muddy MLA Dustin Duncan of the Inter-library loan system and suggested there might be a cheaper way to run it and get it going again.

"We can get an item from anywhere in the province to anywhere in the province in seven to 10 days," said James Richards, branch manager of the Southeast Regional Library, who explained they use a hub-and-spoke delivery system, just like Canada Post. "Given the huge dispersal of libraries and people across this province, it's a huge geographic area to cover, I think that's a pretty good system. I'm not sure how much more fat can be trimmed off of that."

Richards did say the regional libraries may be able to find other cost savings somewhere in their operations but it would take time to plan and implement changes. "We need time to be able to have those discussions and with the recent budget cuts we just don't have time to look at efficiencies or economies," said Richards.

Duncan said the government shared the provinces riches with its partners when times were good.

"We had record revenue in a couple of different budgets going back a few years and all of our partners have shared in that: the local libraries, the regional libraries, the municipalities. The City of Weyburn is moving forward with a new reservoir that is in part funded by the provincial government," said Duncan. "We're going through a difficult time though in the last couple of years and we need to get back to a balanced position so we're asking those same partners that benefited in those times of record revenue to help us."

James Richards, branch manager of the Southeast Regional Library, said the libraries didn't see any extra operational funding during the good times.

"The provincial grant is funded by a formula based on population so our funding stays pretty well stable whether it's good times or bad times. We certainly didn't see any increases during the boom times for the regional libraries," said Richards.

Both Duncan and Richards said they feel there are many other misconceptions in the public about the libraries and how they are funded and managed. Since the province did not consult with any of the regional libraries before slashing their funding by nearly 60 per cent, they also missed the opportunity to clear up any misunderstandings among themselves before the budget dropped. Duncan said that still would not have guaranteed everybody was happy with the result.

"I think there are some things that have been maybe lost in this. This doesn't affect the local branches because they aren't funded by the provincial government. They are funded by the municipalities so as long as Weyburn, or Lake Alma, or Radville want to continue to fund their local library there will be a local library but we know the regional library headquarters does help to do a lot of the coordination of the services," said Duncan and said saving the Inter-library Loan System is a priority.

Richards agreed with all that but highlighted inter-library loans are organized and managed by the regional libraries. Staff for the local libraries are also hired, trained and compensated through the regional libraries HR branches. E-resources, summer reading programs and more are all coordinated through the regional libraries. Without the regional libraries, all of those tasks would fall to the municipalities, who are also having to trim their budgets in the wake of the newest provincial budget.

DEARsask protests 2Over 200 protesters filled the sidewalk, nearly from one curb to the next, along the street in front of MLA Dustin Duncan's office last Friday.

Another subject which has caused confusion is whether or not regional libraries have savings or surplus accounts they can dip into during the cuts. Richards said the Southeast Regional Library does have a surplus of roughly $230,000 and that, while he can't say for certain, other regions are likely in similar positions. He said that funding was just enough to keep the Southeast Regional Library going for roughly two and a half months if they were forced to close so they could give their staff proper lay-off notice. He added it took the regional library nearly two decades of careful financial planning to put those funds aside.

The province's 58 per cent funding cut to the province's regional libraries amounts to $4.8 million of the $14.8 billion budget - about one third of one per cent. Corporations were given a tax break of one half of a percentage point this year with another half a percentage point reduction in 2019. Weyburn-Big Muddy MLA Dustin Duncan said tough cuts were needed to bridge the $1.2 billion deficit still facing the province.

"It'd be nice if there were just two or three things you could change or cut to close that gap. The problem is you have to find it in the $4 million, the $10 million, the $20 million. All of those things eventually have to add up," said Duncan.

 

 

 

More Local News

Weyburn Resident Affected by Hurricane Ophelia

Hurricane Ophelia, a category one storm, hit the British Isles yesterday. It has been said the storm was the worst to ever hit Ireland.

STARS Choir Shares Stage With Foreigner

It was an opportunity of a lifetime for a group of students from Weyburn Comprehensive Choir. The WCS STARS Choir won a contest and had the chance to perform on stage with legendary rock band…

Wind Warning Issued for Weyburn

Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for much of southern Saskatchewan, including the southeast. An intense low pressure system is expected to move through the region, bringing with it very…

Police Investigating Hit and Run

The Weyburn Police Service is seeking the public’s assistance after a hit and run Monday morning. Around 8:30 a.m., a cyclist was struck by a vehicle described as a newer black truck, either a…

Weyburn Street Lights Discussed at City Council

One of the concerns brought to city council last week was in regards to Weyburn's street lights.

Saskatchewan Party Leader Candidate in Weyburn

Candidates from the Saskatchewan Party Leadership have been touring around the province as the debates start this week on October 19th in Swift Current. Weyburn hosts one of the debates at the Cugnet…

Safety for Teen Drivers in South East Saskatchewan

October 15th - 21st is National Teen Driver Safety Week.

Changes to the Weyburn Board of Police Commissioners

City Council discussed the Police Commission Board Bylaw at last weeks meeting.

Fantastic Day at Weyburn Fire Hall Open House

The Weyburn Fire Department has had a very busy week. They toured schools and homes to celebrate and recognize "Fire Prevention Week". Saturday was the final day of the prevention week and saw the…

Excitement All Round for Weyburns STARS Choir

The STARS Choir of Weyburn Comprehensive School has won a competition for the chance of a lifetime.

Teaching Weyburn about Holodomor

Weyburn had a rare learning opportunity over the weekend. The Holodomor National Awareness Tour parked on the site of the old junior high. The tragedy that is Holodomor occurred in the 1930's in…

First Grand Prize Winner for Police Initiative "This Ride's On Us"

The Weyburn Police Services initiative, "This Ride's On Us" has been available for just over a month now. Hoping to prevent impaired driving the program allows participants to enter their names into…

A Walk to Remember Returns to Weyburn

The Walk to Remember is an event on October 15th, which gives women and men the opportunity to honor their children who have died during pregnancy or as an infant.

The FCC Fueling the Weyburn Food Bank

This week, the Weyburn branch of the Farm Credit Canada has been collecting brown paper bags filled with food as donations to the Weyburn Food Bank, which is run by the Weyburn corps of The Salvation…

School Zone Speed Limit Bylaw Revisited

The 'Speed Limit in School Zones' Bylaw was mentioned as part of an amendment request at the City Council meeting on Tuesday.

How Weyburn Regional Economic Development Helps Weyburn

Weyburn Regional Economic Development is the central point of contact for business investment. Economic development is crucial for a thriving community.

Holodomor Awareness Tour Coming to Weyburn

It is a tragic event, which is recognized as a genocide in 16 countries, including Canada. The Holodomor is the forced starvation of Ukraine by the Soviet Union during the early 30’s, which killed…

Fieldhouse Discussions At City Council Monday

Discussion about the proposed fieldhouse for the City of Weyburn was part of the agenda at Weyburn City Council Monday. The Director of Leisure Services, Matthew Warren, updated council on where the…

Alcohol Related Incidents in Weyburn

There were three alcohol-related cases in the Police report from last week.

Two Major Infrastructure Projects Begin in Weyburn

Work is getting started in Weyburn on two major projects: the lead service line replacement project, and the water meter replacement project. Construction work for the lead service line replacement…

DiscoverWeyburn.com is Weyburn's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide

Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, Next Steps for Families Telehealth Learning Series

04 October 2017 7:00 pm - 25 October 2017 9:00 pm

To register call 1-306-683-6332 or 1-800-263-3367





Lyndale School Pancake Breakfast

18 October 2017 8:00 am - 9:30 am

Lyndale School, Oungre





Fall Supper

18 October 2017 5:00 pm

Creelman Memorial Hall





Communithon

20 October 2017 8:00 am - 11:00 pm

Cugnet Centre, Weyburn Comprehensive School, Weyburn





Intro to iPads: "Getting to know your iPad"

20 October 2017 2:00 pm

Weyburn Public Library, Weyburn





PIRATES COVE

20 October 2017 6:00 pm

Tyvan Community Hall





Rory Allan Concert - Tribute to Elvis

20 October 2017 7:00 pm

Knox Presbyterian Hall





Login