Nfld. & Labrador

No public libraries to close, says Dale Kirby

The education minister referred to the review of public libraries as a "dead issue."

'Not while I'm minister of education'

Education Minister says no public library branch will be closing. (CBC)

There will be no closures of any branch of Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries, according to Education Minister Dale Kirby.

Kirby said the plan to review the library system was a "dead issue," and that there will be no branch closures.

"Back in 2016, it was shelved," Kirby said. "That's the end of that."

Kirby added that if anything, they would be opening new libraries, not closing them.

There will be closures of any branch of libraries in Newfoundland and Labrador, says Kirby. (Stephanie Tobin/CBC)

"Not while I'm minister of education," Kirby said of closing libraries.

In the 2018 budget, there will be $11.3 million put toward the public library system, which Kirby said is a "status quo" amount.

Back in the 2016 budget, the province announced a plan to close 54 of the 94 branches. Amidst the public furor from that announcement, government commissioned EY, formerly known as Ernst & Young, to examine the library system.

Kirby made the comments about libraries while outlining an emphasis in Budget 2018 on literacy in the province's K-12 education system.

Some of those educational changes include the introduction of a new position called reading specialist. There will be around 104 of those positions by 2021.

Another new position is teaching and learning assistants, which is somewhere between a teacher and a student assistant.