Regina: Mayor Pat Fiacco and the library board thumbed their noses at thousands of Regina residents Mar. 30 in voting to press ahead with library closures and program cuts despite widespread public opposition.
Supporters of the public library were stunned by the boards decision to pursue its plan to close the three inner-city libraries, the Dunlop Art Gallery and the Prairie History Room on May 1, and not request any budget increase.
Although the public librarys slogan is More than you can imagine, the library board has been delivering Much less than you could expect, says Donna Wilde, president of CUPE 1594, which represents library workers.
For the cost of an egg salad sandwich - $5 per household the board could have increased it budget to maintain all of the existing libraries and services, explains Wilde. Instead, board members voted 6-2 to close the doors on three inner city libraries, the Prairie History Room and the gallery.
Wilde says the boards decision reflects a democratic deficit at the library and called on city council to rescind their appointments.
The library board is not acting in the publics interest, says Wilde. Since city council appointed them, city council should remove them.
Wilde says the boards undemocratic decisions demonstrate the need for an elected board, instead of an appointed one, adding the provincial government must amend its legislation to allow this to happen.
In the meantime, library workers and supporters plan to intensify their campaign to save the Regina Public Library.
Wilde expects to see a large crowd at City Hall on April 5, when city council deals with the library petition. The petition supported by 26,048 residents demands city council provide sufficient funds to the library board to maintain all existing libraries and services.
As everyone has seen over the last four months, Regina residents love their public library system and they are prepared to fight like hell to keep it, Wilde says.
To contact Donna Wilde, leave a message at 533-0677