In recent weeks Knowledge Ontario (KO) was told it will receive no provincial funding this year for its digital services and products – their request for ongoing funding from the Ministry of Culture was not supported.
This decision deals a serious blow to cross-sector library collaboration in this province and creates challenges for libraries, librarians, library users and all taxpayers. Implications are:
• no KO licensed e-resources to K-12 schools, college, university and government libraries (current licenses expire Dec. 2010)
• no funds for the other four KO programs (Ask (askON), Connect, Learn and Our Ontario)
• an additional 22 public libraries, 2 university and 2 college libraries are unable to participate in and offer the askON/ONdemande service in September as planned
• an end to the askON internship program that provides virtual reference training and experience to dozens to iSchool students
• KO will need to secure “bridging” assistance to ensure that it has sufficient operating funds to continue from January to June 2011
There are some actions you can take if this news concerns you:
Write to the Minister of Education (responsible for school libraries), the Minister of Culture (responsible for public libraries), and/or the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities (reponsible for college/university libraries), or the Premier himself.
A link to a draft letter is available on Kim Stymest’s blog at http://kimstymest.com/2010/06/18/lets-get-agitated-part-2/
• Blog, twitter (#KOmatters) and work your networks. Let people know and encourage them to act.
• Join the Knowledge Ontario Matters Facebook group and watch for more calls to action
• Find out what your local library is doing about it. Have they passed a Board resolution supporting KO? Have they written their minister yet?
Library collaboration, of the kind introduced by Knowledge Ontario, makes not only good financial sense but offers all of Ontario’s libraries and librarians an opportunity to share, develop and use leading edge tools and services to better serve our profession, our clients and ourselves.