Ontario Making the Largest Investment in Public Libraries in a Generation
Province Boosting Access to Technology, Digital Library Resources
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, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, was at the Kitchener Public Library today 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 ½ to kindergarten.
- 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.
“Ontario’s public libraries are the cornerstones of our communities and play an important role in providing access to new technology and digital services. Our government is committed to investing in people across the province, and our historic support for public libraries will enhance access to new resources and opportunities to discover all that Ontario and the world have to offer.”
“The Federation of Ontario Public Libraries welcomes Ontario’s support for public and First Nation libraries. The investment will provide sustainable, predictable funding for our trusted community institutions, empowering them with the flexibility to address immediate priorities and plan for the evolving needs of their communities.”
“Libraries are Ontario’s farthest-reaching, most cost-effective resource, supporting high quality lifelong learning, fostering community economy development and reducing the impacts of poverty. Ontario’s Digital Public Library will give communities across Ontario fair, equitable access to the digital resources they need to succeed.”