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Canada and the public library
libraries play a vital role in the lives of Canadians and are
extensively used from coast to coast. Research shows that people who
make use of the library tend to do so regularly. For many Canadians
the public library is part of the integral fabric of their everyday
lives. With the increasing importance of information, the public
library has an increasingly important role to play.
Public libraries and their critical financial
Fiscal restraint, restructuring and
identifying efficiencies of operations are hallmarks of the 1990s.
Public libraries have been a part of this societal shift and budget
reductions are now being felt in a number of areas: reduced materials
expenditure, reduced staffing levels and reduced service hours, at the
same time that inflation and the costs of new technologies are
pressuring existing budgets.
Public libraries are cost-effective information
Public libraries provide a wealth of
information resources services in a timely and cost-effective manner,
save businesses and people time and money, and help to contribute to
better decision making, due to their highly trained staff and
organized methods of information storage and retrieval.
The value of information
increasing value of information is recognized world wide and
information is vital to the success of organizations and businesses.
Public libraries are well positioned to make information available and
accessible in many formats to the broadest possible community in a
Public libraries support the local economy
Public libraries bolster the economic prosperity of their
communities, they contribute to the economic well-being of the
businesses that surround them, they improve the market worth of their
communities, they support their local economies, they benefit local
businesses, and they offer Canadians highly skilled and often highly
technical jobs in an automated environment.
Public libraries support the cultural industry
Public libraries are a critical link in the
book and periodical trade as they buy print materials to a level that
ensures that the book trade in Canada remains healthy. Other cultural
industries including producers and distributors of music, computer
products and videos concur. Public libraries are a vital link in
supporting the creation, production and dissemination of print,
audio-visual and electronic materials in Canada.
Public libraries support Canadian culture
Public libraries are an indispensable part of the cultural
fabric. Libraries not only purchase material written, illustrated,
designed, performed and sold by Canadians but also make this culture
available to the broadest possible spectrum of Canadians. The
existence of public libraries helps to ensure that Canadian culture
continues to flourish and thrive.
Public libraries support a democratic society
A citizen's access to information is an essential component of a
smooth democratic process, the access to information that public
libraries offer to Canadians regardless of race, income, class, age or
gender, assists in supporting and encouraging democracy.
Public libraries support and promote literacy
An informed and literate population is essential to Canada's
economic strength and yet Canada's literacy rate is troubling. The
cost to the Canadian economy of low-level literacy skills is more than
10 billion dollars annually. Public libraries play an active role in
national efforts to increase the literacy skills of Canadians.
Public libraries support children and students
The formal education system in Canada and the informal lifelong
learning resources of public libraries work together to support
children and students. Canadians believe that the public library's
role in educating children and students should be a top priority.
Investment in public libraries yields a high return to the educational
health of students. Studies from around the world show that public
library use is a positive factor in the attainment of high reading and
comprehension levels. Well-educated students guarantee that Canada
will be economically competitive into the next century.
Public libraries support lifelong learning
Public libraries are a lifelong learning resource for all
Canadians. People need to be informed, to make informed personal
decisions, and to constantly upgrade their work and life skills.
Canadians recognize and value the role of libraries in the lifelong
learning process. Canadians must have the necessary job skills for
Canada to remain competitive in the 21st century economy, and public
libraries will help people gain these skills.
Public libraries and emerging technologies
The public library has a key role in ensuring the accessibility
of the Information Highway to all Canadians by guaranteeing all users
access to sophisticated computer technology, especially those without
access to a computer or the Internet at home, school or work.
Canadians are sending clear signals to decision makers that they want
the public library to be involved in providing electronic resources,
including the Internet.