People living on First Nations and Metis Settlements in Alberta will no longer have to pay non-resident fees in order to access public library services.
The Alberta government is providing more than $670,000 to six regional library systems and three of the large urban libraries to cover non-resident fees for individuals living in Indigenous communities.
Previously, people living on-reserve or on-settlement had to acquire a non-resident library membership in order to take advantage of the programs and services offered by libraries in neighbouring communities.
“Libraries are so much more than their books, they are integral community spaces. It is essential that all Albertans have equitable access to the programs and services these community hubs can offer. Our government is proud to provide this funding that eliminates a financial barrier and makes it easier for everyone to use and enjoy Alberta’s public libraries.”
Following the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Alberta government has committed to working with Indigenous leaders and communities to implement the principles and objectives of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“All people in Alberta, no matter where they live, should have equitable access to public libraries. Removing non-resident library fees is a small but important step towards ensuring Indigenous communities have the same resources and opportunities as all Albertans.”
“Providing quality library service to people living on reserves and settlements has always been a goal of mine. Removing the financial and political barriers to equitable library service is a crucial step in true inclusivity and reconciliation in Alberta. This funding allows libraries to provide First Nations and Metis people with the resources and services they deserve.”
Library membership enables access to:
- books, CDs, videos and other physical materials
- computers and high-speed internet
- regional programs such as early childhood literacy activities
- e-content, interlibrary loans and other initiatives provided via the government-funded Provincial Network of Public Library Service
The regional library systems and urban libraries receiving funding are:
- Peace Library System
- Northern Lights Library System
- Yellowhead Regional Library System
- Parkland Regional Library System
- Marigold Library System
- Chinook Arch Library System
- Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
- Edmonton Public Library
- Calgary Public Library
The funding is being delivered through Budget 2016, which in total provides $36.6 million in support of public library service across the province.