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Canadian Library Association Celebrates Bill C-321 Receiving Royal Assent

OTTAWA (June 19, 2013) The Canadian Library Association (CLA) was thrilled to learn today that Bill C-321, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials) received Royal Assent.

Introduced by Conservative Member of Parliament Merv Tweed (Brandon—Souris, MB), Bill C-321 helps protect the existing reduced rate for postage on library materials between libraries and between libraries and their users within Canada. This reduced rate, known as the Library Book Rate, has been offered as a service by Canada Post since 1939.

Tweed has shown continuous dedication to this issue, having first introduced the bill in 2007. "Mr. Tweed has been absolutely instrumental in this initiative and we couldn’t be more proud to have him as a passionate supporter and champion of libraries," said Pilar Martinez, CLA President. "He has shown commitment and perseverance on the library book rate, and the library community is absolutely delighted to see this bill finally become law."

In addition to enshrining the Library Book Rate in the Canada Post Corporation Act, Bill C-321 also expands the definition of library materials to include new media such as CDs, DVDs and other audio-visual materials. "Library collections have evolved significantly over the years to include new formats as technology changes," said Kelly Moore, CLA Executive Director, "so this expanded definition recognizes that information comes in many different formats, not just books."

The Library Book Rate is about more than a reduced rate for libraries to send and receive books. With over 2200 libraries actively using the Library Book Rate and over one million Canadians benefiting from it annually, it is an indispensable part of the service delivered by libraries across the country. Bill C-321 guarantees long-term sustainability for the Rate, which makes vital contributions to the national public policy goals of literacy and lifelong learning, and supports inclusive, vibrant communities.

The Library Book Rate also provides a bridge between all Canadians, including those who are disabled, home-bound, or live in remote locations. "Canadians deserve equal access to library and information services," added Moore. "With Bill C-321 now in force, we can continue to provide equitable access to materials for all Canadians, regardless of where they live."

"A strong library system is one of the best and most important services that a community can offer to its residents," concluded Martinez. "On behalf of CLA and its members, I would like to thank the Government of Canada for its support, and once again thank Merv Tweed, who has taken the lead and championed access to library materials, a fundamental value and right for Canadians."

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The Canadian Library Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques (CLA) is the national voice for Canada’s library communities, representing the interests of libraries, library workers, and all those concerned about enhancing the quality of life of Canadians through information and literacy.

For more information and for media interviews, please contact:
Kelly Moore, CLA Executive Director
Tel.: 613-232-9625 Ext. 306, E-mail: kmoore@cla.ca


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© 2011 Canadian Library Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques