March 09, 2009

Library book rate benefits millions of Canadians

The Canadian Library Association is calling for additional public support for a bill before Parliament that will benefit all library users and especially anyone who has borrowed books through Interlibrary Loan or videos through the Media Exchange Cooperative.

Merv Tweed, Member of Parliament for Brandon--Souris, Manitoba, has re-introduced his Private Member's Bill, C-322 (formerly Bill C-458), an act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act to provide for a reduction in the rate of postage for library materials.

Tweed has been encouraged by the overwhelming, positive support the reintroduction of the Bill has received from all parties in the house. It is his belief that with increased public visibility and the help of Canadians, this bill will receive widespread support from all Members of Parliament.

The Library Book Rate is a Canada Post service that has, since 1939, provided a reduced rate for mailing library books between libraries and from libraries to their users. Canada Post has not guaranteed support for the program beyond 2009.

“I believe Bill C-322 is crucial to protecting library services that benefit all Canadians,” said Tweed. “The positive response I have received from citizens from coast to coast since first introducing this Bill in 2007 speaks to the importance of protecting Canada’s Library Book Rate.”

Bill C-322 would provide that the Government of Canada support a concessionary postal rate for Canada’s public libraries, thus guaranteeing the long-term sustainability of the program. The legislation would also expand the Library Book Rate program to include non-print materials such as CDs, CD-ROMS, and DVDs. The addition of audio-visual materials recognizes that people are not all text-based learners and need access to information through a whole host of audio-visual and digital media.

Alloway Library users can support Tweed's bill in three ways:
  1. Sign the petition in support of the bill at the circulation counter. Or circulate the petition among your colleagues. Completed petitions can be forwarded to Tweed’s Ottawa office to be presented in the House of Commons.
  2. Send a letter of support for the bill to Tweed. Use your own words or use the CLA's template.
  3. Ask your own Member of Parliament to support the bill. (TWU resident students can contact Langley MP Mark Warawa)
With over 2,000 libraries actively using the Library Book Rate and an estimated one million Canadians benefiting from it annually, it is an indispensable part of the service delivered by the public, academic, school and special libraries that make up the association. Please visit here where you will find a host of important materials regarding Bill C-322 and the Library Book Rate.

Contributed by Canadian Library Association

No comments: