OVHLA has sent the following letter to the Deputy Mayor of North Stormont, and Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry County Library Board Chair Bill McGimpsey in response to the proposed cuts to the Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry (SD&G) Library System. A big thank you to Jeff Mason and Cait Ford for working on this.
Re: Cuts to Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry (SD&G) Library System
Dear Deputy Mayor of North Stormont, and Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry County Library Board Chair Bill McGimpsey:
The Ottawa Valley Health Libraries Association (OVHLA) is adding its collective voice to those expressing deep concern over the proposed closure of three branches of the SD&G Library System. In addition to the effects these closures will have on general literacy and community services, closing three libraries will also have a negative impact on the health literacy of the people of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry counties, because public libraries are important providers of consumer health information both in print and online.
The Internet is the primary resource for people who take an interest in their own health, and many consumers turn to their public libraries to access the Internet for health information (Zickuhr, Rainie, & Purcell, 2013). According to the Canadian Internet Use Survey, 69.9% of Canadians search for medical or health related information online (Statistics Canada, 2009).
Closing these three branches (Morewood, Dalkeith, and St. Andrews) will remove vital services from the community. Some residents formally served by these branches may have the opportunity to seek services outside their immediate communities at their own cost. Some have even indicated a willingness to pay to join the Ottawa Public Library system. However, it is not those with financial means who feel the closure of public library spaces the most. For people living with chronic health conditions and those living in poverty, closing nearby public libraries leaves those most in need without access to computers and the Internet, essential tools for finding credible health information and accessing government resources and services. Removing the public spaces and community resources provided by these libraries provide for free, to all residents, regardless of physical or financial ability will be of detriment to the area, both today and in the future.
On behalf of the Executive Board of OVHLA, and its members, I urge the government of municipal councils of SD&G counties to reconsider these closures as well as the allocated overall funding to the public library system. I would be happy to discuss this further with you.
On behalf of OVHLA Executive Board
CC: OVHLA executive members; , Director of Library Service Karen Franklin; Communications & Marketing Librarian Susan Wallwork; Former Vice-Chair Barbara Lehtiniemi; Councillor Frank Prevost; Councillor and Mayor of South Dundas Evonne Delegarde; Deputy Mayor of North Glengarry and Warden of SD&G Jamie MacDonald; Nolan Quinn; Jim McDonnell, MPP; Guy Lauzon, MP; Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport The Honourable Eleanor McMahon
Zickuhr, Kathryn, Lee Rainie, and Kristen Purcell. (2013). Library Services in the Digital Age.
Retrieved from http://libraries.pewinternet.org/2013/01/22/Library-services/.
Statistics Canada. (2011). 2009 Canadian Internet use survey. Retrieved from from: