July 24, 2009

Libraries brace for provincial funding cuts

Three stories this week seem to indicated the BC provincial government is cutting back its support of both public and post-secondary libraries.

Monday Magazine and the Langley Times both report that British Columbia's public libraries haven’t yet received their annual operating grants from the provincial government. Nor have they been told how much money they’ll be getting—both of which usually have happened by this time of year.

Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender, chair of the Fraser Valley Regional Library board, has requested a meeting with the premier and the minister of education after the regional libraries didn’t receive the provincial grant in June. “There is a suggestion the province is looking at eliminating the grants,” said Fassbender. “We are concerned. We want to let them know this is very important to us.”

It has also been learned that the government has indicated that all funding for AEMAC (Advanced Education Media Acquisitions Centre) will cease as of September 30, 2009.

If AEMAC ceases to exist TWU and other BC post secondary institutions will lose a valuable partner that has worked on our behalf to negotiate bulk purchase prices for audiovisual media as well as licences that permit us to legally show feature films in our classrooms and elsewhere on campus.

Since 1989, the Advanced Education Media Acquisitions Centre (AEMAC) has provided a collaborative mechanism to purchase provincial licenses for the acquisition of video programs and educational software for use in the post-secondary institutions of British Columbia. Recently, digital rights, such as video streaming, have been acquired for licensing as well. For several years AEMAC has effectively negotiated and coordinated the purchase of feature film/public performance licenses for participating BC colleges and universities including TWU.

AEMAC provides leadership in copyright compliance and assists institutions to reduce risk and liability in relation to the legal use of media in the post-secondary environment. The Centre also organizes the Fast Forward Media Showcase, a venue for evaluation of new products.

News of the delays and/or loss of funding for libraries and AEMAC conflict with election promises heard this spring, when the BC Liberals promised "to make B.C. the best educated, most literate jurisdiction on the continent."

No comments: