Cuts to public libraries have already affected services in Muskoka.

When you go to the Huntsville Public Library website a pop-up message informs users that the Inter-Library Loans service is not available until at least May 31st.

CEO for the library Deborah Duce says the cuts by the Ford Government are going to have a huge effect on the libraries patrons.

“ I don’t think there is a library in the province that it’s not going to impact,” says Duce. “We only have a certain sized budget. We only have a certain sized library.”

The Southern Ontario Library Service and the Ontario Library Service-North have a system of loaning books on request to participating libraries. With a nearly $1.5 million cut, last week people seeking a book that is at another branch will be out of luck.

“Public libraries are a hub of the community where people go who don’t have the money to spend $30 on a book,” Duce explains. “They don’t have $50 or $60 for books in large print or to buy audiobooks.”

She says in the case of the Huntsville library there will be meetings held to determine where some budget can be recovered.

“For us, it might be taking funds from a budget line and say that we are allocating them for recommended purchases,” Duce says. “But we have to step back and have a look at it.”

Last year the Huntsville Library received 2,800 books from other libraries and loaned out 3,500. These are distributed through Canada Post at normal parcel rates, with the sending library covering the cost.

All libraries will need to now find a way to cover this cost.

Duce says the grant received from the province is not expected to change, but she is not sure about anything at this point.

“Public libraries receive two grants from the province of Ontario. All of the advocacy institutions for libraries have been told by the Ford government that there will be no cuts to those grants,” she reveals. “We are nervous about next steps but I think that they truly believe that by cutting the Inter-Library system that it wouldn’t have an impact or it wouldn’t have as significant an impact.”