February 17, 2018

Reeling Private Montreal Library Gets Publicly-Funded Reprieve

By LJ Staff

The Fraser-Hickson Library in Montreal opened in 1885, before the city gained public libraries, and since then has been funded mainly by a private endowment. But the fall of the stock market has caused a crisis; last year the library required adult members to pay a $25 borrowing fee. Even so, the library closed its doors indefinitely on April 15, facing a shortfall of $400,000 (CAD), nearly half its annual budget. Now the city of Montreal has stepped in, announcing a contribution of $475,000, plus $125,000 from three city boroughs that have a significant percentage of English speakers in the French-dominant city. As part of the agreement, reported the Montreal Gazette, the library has agreed to drop the borrowing fee and to increase its French-language materials.