Laid-off library workers speak out about budget cuts

Library workers who received pink slips in the wake of the Saskatchewan budget were at the assembly on Monday afternoon.

6 workers from Palliser Regional Library at legislature on Monday afternoon

Melissa Silzer-Frank, one of six employees at the Palliser Regional Library who received layoff notices, speaks to reporters at the legislature. (Trent Peppler/CBC)

The fallout from the provincial budget continued at the Saskatchewan Legislature on Monday afternoon.

Six employees who have received layoff notices from the Palliser Regional Library came to the assembly to watch question period.

Melissa Silzer-Frank said she was the sole information technology worker with the library responsible for maintaining the computers.

Silzer-Frank says the public computers are used by a wide variety of people, from business owners to the unemployed.

"They use our printers, they use our fax, scanners, copiers," she said.

"The government has cut jobs and they're saying to people, 'Go down to your library and apply for E.I.,'" she noted. "But you cut us."

Education Minister Don Morgan told reporters he was surprised regional libraries laid off workers before going back to municipalities to ask for more money. (Trent Peppler/CBC)

The provincial government cut the amount of spending it does on regional libraries by about half. 

Still, Education Minister Don Morgan said he was taken aback by how quickly the libraries made job cuts without first asking municipalities for more money.

"I was surprised that we were hearing from the regional libraries doing layoffs without them having looked at what options were available to them," Morgan said.

"None of them appear to have gone back to the municipalities."

Many municipal leaders are already complaining about the province downloading the cost of programs to local governments.