Provincial Cuts to SOLS and OLSN to affect Library Services at HHPL
Earlier this week, the Southern Ontario Library Services (SOLS) and Ontario Library Service North (OLSN) announced they would both be receiving a 50% decrease in funding on the provincial level. For those who might not be familiar with these organizations, they are responsible for providing a variety of services to Southern and Northern Ontario, which in turn supplement services that libraries across Ontario are able to offer their patrons.
These services include things such as training for staff and volunteers, interlibrary loans, and specialized pool collections such as DVD Pool and Large Print Pool. Though the full extent of how this will affect services going forward is still somewhat unclear, SOLS has released an official announcement of the services they will be cutting as a result.
So, how does this affect patrons of Hastings Highlands Public Library? Well, to clear up one possible point of confusion, the funding on the Federal and Municipal Levels has not changed, so individual libraries such as ours will not at this time be experiencing any cuts. Our budget will remain the same as it has, and in fact this year received a small increase from the municipal council to provide better services to taxpayers. That's the good news.
The bad news is that services like Interlibrary Loans will no longer be offered by our library, or any other library in Ontario, due to being discontinued by SOLS. For those of you who may not have taken the opportunity to use this service, Interlibrary Loans permitted us to borrow books on behalf of a patron from any library in Ontario, so if our library didn't have a book you were looking for, we could still possibly locate it for you from another participating library that did. We would process these loans as they arrived, and sign them out to the patron who requested it. When the book was returned to us we would process it to ship back to the original library. The shipping fee was covered by SOLS and OLSN, so this was at no additional cost to the library.
Although every library's goal is to provide as diverse of a collection as possible for the community it serves, those responsible for the collection development must also factor in variables such as limited space, funding, as well as how long ago a book was published. As a result, some titles inevitably fall outside of our collection development guidelines. Interlibrary Loan Services were previously relied upon to help fill this gap, so even though the cuts were not made to our library's funding directly, they still deeply impact us and the services we provide to the community.
Moving forward, we will be re-assessing how to better meet the needs of the community with the loss of this service. We will also be following any updates regarding these cutbacks to SOLS to see how it may impact our Large Print and DVD Pool collections. At this time, we only know that SOLS will no longer be able to provide delivery of these collections to the participating libraries.