MODG concerned over possible increase to library funding, service cutbacks

GUYSBOROUGH: The warden for the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) says council isn’t comfortable providing local libraries with additional funding.

The municipality’s two libraries were discussed during the regular monthly council meeting on Feb. 17.

Officials with the municipality indicated their concerns that Eastern Counties Regional Library (ECRL) would ask for a funding increase at the March council meeting.

Following the meeting, Warden Vernon Pitts explained their annual funding contribution is on top of numerous services they currently provide in-kind including building maintenance, electrical costs and phone services.

“We do all the bills in regards to that,” Pitts said. “I can’t see where these costs (would be) coming from.”

In addition to a potential funding increase to its current $36,000, council fears there is a possibility services could be further cut at the Cyril Ward Memorial Library in Guysborough and at the Canso Library.

The municipality owns both buildings that house the two local branches of the ECRL.

Currently, Pitts advised library services throughout the municipality are limited; noting there are only 16 staffed-hours available in Guysborough weekly, while Canso has service covering 24 hours.

“To me, that’s a substandard anyway,” he said. “If they’re going to cut services, what’s left to cut; is the next thing to close the libraries?”

In a precautionary move, council passed a motion to send a letter to officials with the ECRL explaining the municipality’s concern and their request to maintain the level of service.

Pitts suggested the municipality would have a better understanding of the situation following a board meeting that was scheduled for Feb. 18.

At this stage, officials with the municipality said they are not interested in offering or providing any additional funding.