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May 14, 2012

Public Libraries Support Increased by 35 Per Cent

The Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Education, today took exception to a suggestion by MHA Dale Kirby (NDP – St. John’s North) that the Provincial Government is not committed to public libraries and efforts to promote literacy.

“I can assure you this minister is not standing in the way of literacy,” Minister Jackman said in response to a question in the House of Assembly. “My background is all about literacy. I am about promoting literacy and being a part of that and, as a Minister of Education, could not be prouder to be in this department.”

Minister Jackman noted afterwards that Newfoundland and Labrador has 96 public libraries, which are more public libraries per capita than any other province in Canada. In fact, 86 per cent of the population has direct access to a library within 24 kilometres of their homes.

The Provincial Government has, in fact, increased funding to library programs since coming to office in 2003, from $8.2 million to $11.1 million – a 35 per cent increase.

These increases have, among other things:

In more recent years, since 2007, more than $1.3 million has been provided to target specific infrastructure projects – such as improvements to rural libraries in Harbour Grace, Deer Lake, Labrador City, Grand Bank, and Stephenville.

“We are absolutely committed to our public library system, and will continue to work with the Provincial Information and Library Resources Board to identify priorities, invest strategically, and address the work that needs to be done,” Minister Jackman said.

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Media contact:
Heather May
Director of Communications
Department of Education
709-729-0048, 697-5061

2012 05 14               4:35 p.m.

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