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Sault library ends interlibrary loans, blames province

Decision made Wednesday
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Interlibrary loans appear to be a thing of the past at Sault Ste. Marie Public Library.

"It is with great sadness that we have to announce due to the recently announced budget cuts to both Southern Ontario Library Service and Ontario Library Service - North organizations, all inter-library loan services are being suspended until further notice," the library announced Wednesday.

"We will do our utmost to answer any inquiries regarding this matter. Thank you for your understanding."

The provincial web portal for making interlibrary loan requests has posted a similar notice.

"Due to significant Ontario provincial budget cuts, this service has been suspended until further notice. Please contact your local library for more information."

As SooToday reported on Monday, Ontario Library Service - North and sister service Southern Ontario Library Service have both had their budgets slashed by 50 per cent or more by the Ontario government.

"Let me be perfectly clear," Michael Tibollo, provincial minister of tourism, culture and sport, said in a statement issued last week. "Our government is maintaining base funding for our libraries across the province."

"Ontario Library Service - North and Southern Ontario Library Service are arm's length agencies that have no involvement in the day-to-day operations of Ontario's public libraries," the minister stated.

Until now, interlibrary loan service was available for library patrons seeking books not listed in the local catalogue and published more than one year ago.

There was no fee for books brought in from other Ontario libraries.

The service normally took anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the location of the lending library.

Only books print format were available through interlibrary loans.

DVDs, CDs, and ebooks were not available through the service.

Ontario Library Service's northern and southern branches are designed to ensure all parts of the province get equitable access to library services and staff.