The Friends of Regina (Sask.) Public Library filed an application with the Court of Queen's Bench December 31 to prevent the library board from closing three branches, the Dunlop Art Gallery, and the Prairie History Room because of a $1-million operations deficit (AL, Jan., p. 24-26). The group hopes that a judge will either overturn the decision or order an injunction to prevent the library from moving ahead with the closure plans to allow for public hearings.
Friends attorney Merrilee Rasmussen said in the January 2 Regina Leader-Post that "there is a requirement implied by the law that the board would provide notice of possible closures and an opportunity for persons to be heard in response to that." The group contends that a publicly appointed library board should be accountable to patrons, not to itself or the library.
If court tactics fail, the Friends hope to make use of a petition, which has now gathered more than 4,300 signatures, to force a referendum calling on the Regina city council to provide sufficient funds to prevent the closures. A total of 19,000 signatures is needed by March 9 for that to occur.
The library board claims it is fulfilling its mandate to serve the public by appointing five persons to a task force charged with reviewing the plan. Announced December 16 during a standing-room-only meeting at which opponents demanded a halt to the closings, the task force is headed by Garnet Garven, dean of the University of Regina's faculty of administration. …