After six years of work, Merv Tweed's dream of cheaper postage for rural ibraries has become a reality.
Tweed, the Brandon–Souris Conservative MP, announced Wednesday afternoon that his Private Members’ Bill C-321, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials) has received Royal Assent.
"This bill was passed with unanimous consent in the House of Commons and the Senate, and after six years of Parliamentary procedure, will finally become law," said Tweed.
It not only enshrines the Library Book Rate in the Canada Post Corporation Act, but it also seeks to widens the definition of library materials — including new media materials beyond books.
The Library Book Rate, a highly discounted postal rate offered by Canada Post, has existed since 1939 and is used by libraries to reduce the cost of offering inter-library loans. This helps provide equal access to printed library books for all Canadian readers regardless of their location whether they live in a rural, remote or urban area of Canada.
"The Canadian Library Association is thrilled that the library book rate provision is finally enshrined in legislation," said CLA President Pilar Martinez. "Libraries now have the certainty that they can continue to provide access to resources by mailing library materials to users and to other libraries."
The legislation was first introduced in the House of Commons as Bill C-458 on June 13, 2007 in the 39th Parliament, and reintroduced in the 40th Parliament as C-322, C-509 and finally as C-321.
"We are especially grateful to Mr. Tweed for his commitment and perseverance in championing this bill on behalf of the library community," Martinez said.