Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Canadian Library Association supports private member's Bill

(Ottawa, July 16, 2007) - The Canadian Library Association (CLA) has pledged its support for a private member’s Bill making Canada Post’s Library Book Rate more sustainable. The Library Book Rate has been one of CLA’s major advocacy files, and the Association lobbies diligently for its continuation and expansion.

“This legislation would benefit the one million Canadians who currently access library materials with Canada Post’s help,” says CLA President Alvin Schrader, “and would expand access to information for even more Canadians. We urge Parliament to pass it.”

The Library Book Rate is a Canada Post service that since 1939 has provided a reduced rate for mailing library books between libraries and from libraries to their users. It costs Canada Post about $8 million per year.

Merv Tweed, MP for Brandon-Souris, Manitoba, has put forward a private member’s Bill that would allow the government to compensate Canada Post for Library Rate costs, and extend the list of eligible materials to include CDs, DVDs and other audio-visual materials that are currently ineligible for the reduced rate.

“CLA has been working extremely hard to ensure that Canadians have equal access to library and information services, regardless of where they live, and the Library Book Rate is a key component of this,” says Schrader. “CLA has invested thousands of our members’ dollars in working with Canada Post to make refinements to the Book Rate implementation system, and for years CLA has urged the Department of Canadian Heritage to enter into an agreement with Canada Post to ensure the sustainability of the Rate.”

“This Bill is a step in the right direction,” he says.

With over 2,000 libraries actively using the Library Book Rate and an estimated one million Canadians benefiting from it annually, the Library Book Rate is an indispensable part of the service delivered by the public, academic, school and special libraries. Since 2005, Canada Post has been renewing the Rate on a year-by-year basis, rather than making a sustained commitment, and librarians are concerned that the Rate is at risk.

The proposed extension of the Rate to audio-visual materials “has been an issue for the library community since the late 1960s,” according to CLA Executive Director Don Butcher. “The addition of audio-visual materials as eligible library materials would recognize that people need access to information on a whole host of audio-visual media.”

The Canadian Library Association is the largest national library group in Canada, encompassing public, academic, school and special libraries.

To see Bill C-458, visit the Parliament of Canada Website: ?DocId=3040262&Language=e&Mode=1&File=24

For further information, contact CLA Executive Director Don Butcher at 613-232-9625 ext. 306 or