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Canada: Ontario making largest investment in public libraries in a generation

26 May 2018 at 21:05 | 1667 views

Ontario is making the largest investment in public libraries in a generation, and improving access to technology, digital services and training opportunities at public libraries in towns, cities and Indigenous communities across the province.

Daiene Vernile (photo), Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, was at the Kitchener Public Library recently to announce new support for Ontario’s libraries through the 2018 Budget.

A new provincial Digital Public Library will be created that will make digital library services such as e-books, audiobooks, digital databases and learning resources available for free to people across Ontario, regardless of where they live. In total, 300 public libraries across the province will be supported, including those in rural, remote and Indigenous communities.

In addition the province is also boosting annual funding for libraries by $51 million over three years, to ensure that public libraries can continue to be essential spaces for people to access cultural experiences, technology and community life. These new investments will support libraries across Ontario as they continue to respond to the needs of their residents with innovative services, no matter the size of the community.

Investing in libraries is part of the government’s plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and free preschool child care from 2 to kindergarten.

Quick Facts
- Ontario is investing $28 million over three years to create a provincial Digital Public Library.
- Ontario’s 2018 budget will also invest $51 million over three years in annual increases to public library operating funding.
- The Digital Public Library will be phased in and available provincewide within three years.
- Ontario is home to 300 public libraries, including 46 First Nations libraries that serve over 99 per cent of the population.

This funding supports Ontario’s Culture Strategy and the commitment to support Ontario’s public and First Nation libraries as essential spaces for people to access cultural experiences, technology and community life.

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