May 20, 2010

Library bill goes for second reading in Parliament

Update on the Library Book Rate front: We have learned that Merv Tweed's private members' bill (new number: C-509) will be going for second reading in the House of Commons on May 28. The Canadian Library Association (CLA) has prepared a toolkit which includes a draft letter you can send to your MP to generate support for the upcoming vote.

If you have used and Interlibrary Loan book, chances are the book rate was used to transport that book between Alloway Library and the supplying library. Bill C-509 would add videos and other media to the list of items libraries can ship at a reduced cost. Faculty and students are urged to contact their MP in support of this bill.

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. With over 2,000 libraries actively using the Library Book Rate and over one million Canadians benefiting from it annually, the Library Book Rate is an indispensable part of the service delivered by Canada’s not-for-profit public, academic, school and special libraries.

The Library Book Rate is not a government program and is not currently financially supported by the federal government. Members of the library community in all constituencies continue to be concerned about its sustainability, given that Canada Post is a Crown corporation with a mandate to generate a dividend for its shareholder, the government. Yet the Rate contributes to the public policy goals of literacy, lifelong learning, inclusion, and vibrant rural and remote communities.

In June 2007, Member of Parliament Merv Tweed (Brandon-Souris, Manitoba) introduced a Private Member’s Bill which would allow the federal government to compensate Canada Post for Library Rate costs. The Bill would also extend the list of eligible materials to include CDs, DVDs and other audio-visual materials that are currently ineligible for the reduced rate.

It is vital that the Government of Canada guarantee support for this Rate beyond 2010. CLA continues to advocate that the Government of Canada allocate permanent funding in order to maintain a reduced rate of postage for library materials and support one million Canadians.

The Library Book Rate is a very important issue for Canada throughout the provinces and territories. The Library Book Rate:

  • Ensures equitable access to documents located in libraries across the country and made available to all Canadians;
  • Supports the intellectual needs of remote northern and rural communities; and
  • Affirms the concept that the collections of all libraries are a national asset accessible to all Canadians and as such supports education and maintains Canada’s global competitiveness and productivity

Write a letter to your local MP outlining your key concerns with respect to the Library Book Rate.

for more information, including draft letters visit the CLA toolkit

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