Delegates to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention in Vancouver today approved a resolution calling on the new BC NDP provincial government to restore funding to public libraries that had been cut by previous governments.
“CUPE BC has long been an advocate for sustainable funding for libraries, and we’re very pleased to see this resolution pass with no opposition,” said CUPE BC President Paul Faoro. “Libraries are vital centres in our communities, providing welcoming spaces for people from all walks of life to learn from one another, develop literacy skills and build social connections.”
The resolution, B60, notes that provincial funding for public libraries has been cut from 21 per cent of total revenue in 1986 to just 5 per cent today. It calls on the provincial government to restore funding to 21 per cent of total revenues.
“The majority of these short-sighted cuts came from the former BC Liberal government, along with its cuts to other important learning programs,” said Faoro. “The new government has already reversed some of these mean-spirited cuts, like restoring funding to Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language programs. I hope that reversing the trend in library funding will be part of the next provincial budget in February. We will certainly be making that case in our submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance, and we’re heartened that local governments will be allies in this effort.”