Education Minister Dale Kirby doing everything he can to avoid meaningful public engagement with the communities served by our public libraries

Representatives of CUPE Newfoundland Labrador are calling out Education Minister Dale Kirby for hiding behind paid consultants and secretive meetings. CUPE was recently made aware of an invitation-only meeting of library stakeholders, which took place October 12, 2016. Although some management level staff were invited, frontline library workers from the 54 public libraries under threat of closure were excluded.

Upon learning of the stakeholder meeting on October 7, CUPE Representative Dawn Learning immediately sent a letter to Minister Kirby, asking for members of CUPE 2329 to be included in the meeting. They did not receive a response.

“Why are these dedicated library workers not considered stakeholders? Minister Kirby should admit he made a mistake – and fix it,” says Learning.

“They don’t want to talk to the people who live in these communities or the people who work in these libraries. Minister Kirby should be visiting these places in person,” says CUPE 2329 President Dawn Lahey. I’m sure Earle McCurdy learned a lot more, and spent far less on his tour, than the provincial government is wasting on consultants and lawyers.”

“At this point you have to wonder if Mr. Kirby is trying to pull the wool over our eyes,” says CUPE NL President Wayne Lucas. “After the fiasco last week at the library consultation in St. John’s, and now this, how can anyone have confidence in the results of this review.”

CUPE 2329 represents 350 employees at the Provincial Information and Library Resources Board in 96 communities.