Reprieve for public libraries — at least for now

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Reprieve for public libraries — at least for now

The grace period for Newfoundland and Labrador's public libraries has been extended, at least while a review of the system is ongoing.

In this year's budget, Finance Minister Cathy Bennett announced that a $625,500 operating grant for libraries has been restored.

This money will allow libraries to keep their doors open while an review of the system is completed.

Last year, government decided it would close 54 of the 95 libraries in the province, cutting roughly $1 million from the library board's budget.

That decision prompted an outcry from readers, community members and the local arts community.

"We did the best we could" last year, Bennett told reporters Thursday before heading to the House of Assembly.

The committee reviewing the public library system has yet to give government its report, which will take weeks, possibly months, to finish.

Once it is submitted, Education Minister Dale Kirby will hold public consultations before decisions are made about branch closures or the future of the public library system.