WHEREAS regional library systems exist to ensure Albertans have equitable access to library services; AND WHEREAS all libraries, but especially rural and remote libraries, improve service to patrons by sharing library resources; AND WHEREAS all libraries, but especially rural and remote libraries, depend upon Canada Post Corporation and the Library Book Rate to ship materials in a cost-effective manner; AND WHEREAS all libraries make available a variety of material formats in addition to books to meet patron needs; AND WHEREAS many Canadians cannot use conventional print resources; AND WHEREAS libraries have limited revenues;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the federal government, through the Department of Canadian Heritage, to continue the Library Book Rate and extend it to all library materials; AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the federal government, through the Department of Canadian Heritage, to change the Library Book Rate to a one-way rate system without altering the overall charge incurred by libraries.
Libraries in Alberta, especially rural and remote libraries, make extensive use of the Library Book Rate. Below are selected excerpts from the Study of the Library Book Rate prepared for the Department of Canadian Heritage in 2002. The full text of the study can be found at: www.pch.gc.ca/progs/ac-ca/progs/pap/pubs/tlb-Ibr/index e.cfm. Study of the Library Book Rate For many public libraries, interlibrary loan is a basic service. Public libraries in western Canada make the greatest use of the Library Book Rate. There are several key reasons for this including: There are a great number of public libraries located in small towns and villages across western Canada, many of which fit the profile of high-Library Book Rate user- small, rural and remote – with a strong commitment to equal access to information, resource sharing and interlibrary loans. The provincial and regional library infrastructure is well developed in western Canada. Therefore, interlibrary loan systems are well established and well coordinated. Libraries in western Canada are leaders in the development of automated and Internet accessible library catalogues. For example, the libraries in Alberta have introduced an automated, web-based system that enables library patrons to place interlibrary loans directly into the system. This has led to an exponential increase in the number of interlibrary loans and the use of the Library Book Rate in Alberta. In the 1960s libraries started to provide long playing records, 16mm film and microfilm. This was the first time that these materials had been available at a reasonable price. People now had access to equipment at home. The new media became popular everywhere, including in libraries. Patrons were now interested in having access to all sorts of materials. As a result of this new need, the Canadian Library Association recommended in 1974 that a preferred rate be instated for the exchange of boxes of books and 16mm microfiche between libraries. The government rejected this recommendation. In December 1984, the Canadian Library Association again requested that the Library Book Rate be expanded to include all library documents; audio and videocassettes, records, films and microfiche. This request was again denied. In 1998 a working group of representatives from the National Library of Canada, the Canadian Library Association and the Association pour l’avancement des sciences et des techniques de la documentation was created to acquire information on the use of and satisfaction with the Library Book Rate. It concluded that the program is essential to allow libraries to fulfill their role in ensuring equitable access to information for Canadians and put forward recommendations similar to those, of the 1993 study, including the recommendation that a one-way library rate at the equivalent of 60% of the current rate for each rate code be created. In March 2002, the 1998 Memorandum of Agreement was extended for a period of three years with Canada Post. The agreement again includes the continuation of the Library Book Rate for the duration of the new Memorandum of Agreement. Negotiations will start again in 2004.
The AAMDC does not have any resolutions currently in effect with respect to the Library Book Rate. However, Resolution 5-03F and 6-00F urge the government to substantially increase provincial per-capita operating grants for public libraries.
The AAMDC continues to bring forward the need for adequate library resources and support in our meetings with both provincial and federal government officials.