Nfld. & Labrador

Where's the report? Months after consultations, libraries waiting for plan

The 2017 Newfoundland and Labrador budget may not be as dire for libraries as the one presented last year, but advocates warn the institutions and people who work there are still in a "precarious position."

Provincial budget restores $625K operating grant, but threat of closures still looms

Crystal Rose, with the Newfoundland and Labrador Library Association, says there are still many questions still unanswered about the future of public libraries in N.L. (Submitted)

The 2017 Newfoundland and Labrador budget may not be as dire for libraries as the one presented last year, but advocates warn the institutions and people who work there are still in a "precarious position."

"It hasn't really given us any good, solid answers for the future," said Crystal Rose, who is part of the Newfoundland and Labrador Library Association.

"Will there be branch closures? We don't know."

Where's the report?

Rose said there is good news in this year's budget — namely, that the $625,000 operating grant has been restored. 

"I'm so happy there weren't major cuts, that was our big fear," Rose told CBC Radio's Corner Brook Morning Show.

Edmund Walbourne was one of hundreds of people to weigh in on the proposed library closures last year. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

But Rose said much remains up in the air, following last year's announcement that more than half of the libraries in the province would close.

It was after a fierce public outcry that those closures were suspended until a review of the libraries, led by the firm EY, could be completed. 

"We would really like to see the report coming out soon. I mean it's been nine months. We had 11 public consultations last fall ... There was an online component to the survey," Rose said.

"So they have a lot of great data and our concern is that it's taking a very long time to get that data into the hands of the public."

There was massive opposition to the planned library closures and public consultations often included fiery exchanges. (Stock photo)

For Rose, timing is everything — and the government missed the mark. 

"The budget has already been announced ... Our hands are tied, really, for another whole year, so that's concerning for sure."

With files from Corner Brook Morning Show and Stephanie Tobin