Saskatchewan libraries have always played an essential role in the educational, recreational and cultural lives of the province. Despite the large landmass of the province and a relatively small and widely dispersed population of one million people, Saskatchewan libraries provide excellent service, engage in cooperative practices and willingly utilize the latest technological advances to meet the needs of their patrons.
Public Library System
There are seven regional libraries in Saskatchewan: Lakeland Library Region (North Battleford area), Wapiti Regional Library (Prince Albert area), Wheatland Regional Library (Saskatoon area), Parkland Regional Library (Yorkton area), Chinook Regional Library (Swift Current area), Palliser Regional Library (Moose Jaw area), and Southeast Regional Library (Weyburn area). Each regional library consists of a large geographical area with a substantial population and represents a group of cities, towns, villages and rural municipalities that have joined together to deliver library services. Each regional library board elects an executive committee of 9 -12 members; responsibilities include initiating policy development; managing the annual budget; making recommendations for improvements to the regional library system and its services; and hiring a regional library director. The Regina and Saskatoon Public Libraries provide material and library services in the two major urban centers. The northern library system, Pahkisimon Nuye?áh Library System, is a federation of 11 northern community public libraries and has the legislated mandate to act as the central library for northern Saskatchewan. It acts as the coordinating agency for all school, regional college, public and special libraries.
Maps of the provincial public library system.
Post-secondary education libraries
Post-secondary education libraries in Saskatchewan include the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan libraries, community college and vocational institute libraries, and the Saskatchewan Institute of Science and Applied Technology (SIAST) which has campuses in major centers in Saskatchewan.
The Saskatchewan school system has over 1,000 schools and each school has library resources ranging from modest book collections to fully staffed school libraries with extensive collections, electronic resources and a range of services. School libraries play a vital role in the education of students, particularly with the advent of resource based learning.
Special libraries contain specialized collections in specific subject areas and are often affiliated with both nonprofit and for-profit commercial organizations. There are hundreds of special libraries in Saskatchewan; many of these libraries play a cooperative role in the provincial library system and in Multitype Library Board initiatives.
Multitype library initiatives
The Multitype Library Board facilitates co-operation among all libraries in Saskatchewan in matters relating to the development of library services. It provides a forum for appointed representatives from all types of libraries in the province, including, public, academic, school and special libraries, to discuss library cooperation.
The Provincial Library
The mission of the Saskatchewan Provincial Library is "Strengthening libraries to ensure equitable access to global information, resources and library services for all Saskatchewan residents", and it is through The Public Libraries Act, 1996, that it is entrusted to co-ordinate and support the province-wide library system. The Provincial Library's Mission Statement is to "work co-operatively with all libraries and communities to secure equitable access to library resources, information and services for Saskatchewan people" and it administers The Libraries Co-operation Act which encourages co-operation and resource-sharing among all libraries throughout the province to benefit Saskatchewan people. The operating principles of the Provincial Library are that "the needs of the library user are fundamental in the design of policy, procedures, and services; think globally, search locally: libraries rely on each level within the system - local, regional, provincial, national, international - adhering to recognized standards; our work is based on professional practices and standards; and technology is utilized to improve the effectiveness of library services."
For detailed information on individual Saskatchewan libraries, select Library Directory
Archer, John H. Saskatchewan, a history. Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books, 1998.
Bocking, D.H. Saskatchewan, a pictorial history. Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books, 1979.
Nilson, Ralph. Discover Saskatchewan: a guide to historic sites. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center, 1998.
Smith, David E. Building a Province: a history of Saskatchewan in documents. Saskatoon: Fifth House, 1992.
Saskatchewan Public Library System.