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Two Years On: The Saskatchewan Libraries 2017 Budget Crisis

April 3, 2019

By Alan Kilpatrick

In March 2017, the Government of Saskatchewan announced that funding to Saskatchewan’s public library system was being reduced.  Shortly after the announcement, widespread public protest emerged throughout the province.  Approximately one month later, the Government reversed the funding cut and committed to a public consultation and engagement process regarding libraries.

The consultation and engagement process took place over two phases:

  1. Report of Saskatchewan Public Libraries Engagement / Government of Saskatchewan (December 2018)
    Throughout fall 2018, MLA Terry Dennis led a panel that met with representatives from each public library system in the province.  The panel asked several questions, learned about the current state of public libraries, and discussed opportunities for the future of libraries.  The panel identified eight themes common to all Saskatchewan library systems.  Each theme is described in this brief report released by Mr. Dennis in December 2018:
    • Funding Structure and Predictability
    • Provincial Public Library Strategic Plan
    • One Card, One Province
    • Communication with the Provincial Library
    • Governance Training
    • Indigenization
    • Value of Public Libraries
    • Legislation
  1. Report of Saskatchewan Public Libraries Engagement Survey / Government of Saskatchewan (March 2019)
    In January 2019, the Government followed up by launching an online survey.  Saskatchewan residents were invited to read Mr. Dennis’s report and provide feedback.  Specifically, the Government wanted to gather public feedback to determine whether the eight themes accurately reflected public opinion.  The survey was open for fifteen days and received more than 5800 responses.  The responses indicate that Saskatchewan residents largely agree that the eight themes represent key concerns for public libraries.

In the coming months, the Government has indicated that it will be using the eight themes and public survey responses to develop a public library sector plan.  No additional information has been provided about the sector plan at the time.

You can learn more at:

Province Seeking Public Input On Report On Saskatchewan Libraries Engagement / Government of Saskatchewan (January 2019)
Report of Saskatchewan Public Libraries Engagement Survey / Government of Saskatchewan (March 2019)
The Saskatchewan Spring of 2017: 34 Days that Shook the Province and Led to the Provincial Government Reinstating Funding to Public Libraries / The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Science (2017)

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