The following appeared on the Stop BC Library Cuts website today, after an communiqué from the provincial government:
On August 20, 2009 the Province of British Columbia announced that the provincial dollars to support public libraries would be $13,700,000, which is about 78% of previous years. While this represents a reduction, the libraries of BC are pleased to see that the provincial government recognizes the integral role public libraries play in community development and literacy.1
While I disagree with the ‘pleased sentiment’ (being happy with a cut in funding to important services isn’t the best approach, in my humble opinion), I think that what’s happening to the public libraries in the province should be making us in advanced education start to brace for impacts.
CBC reported today that the Finance Minister of the province is telling BC voters to get ready for a “very, very difficult budget.” According to CBC,
“We are desperately trying to maintain the critical services in health care and education and the social services. So it’s definitely been a challenging summer,” the finance minister said Wednesday.
I would not be surprised to hear that provincial funding transfers to universities were to be impacted in much the same way that the libraries have been. This will be an incredibly difficult budget for universities to cope with, especially since they’re already five months into a fiscal year.
In short, I think we should be bracing for the impact – and getting ready to say no.