Regina Public Library says it will not seek a mill rate increase from city council, despite a funding shortfall of more than $600,000.

The organization says it will instead save money by eliminating book loans between provincial branches and rolling back the hours of term employees.

“We have significant budget challenges but our Board has decided that we will not be pursuing a mill rate change request,” Regina Public Library board chair Sean Quinlan said in a news release Thursday.

“Our customers are also feeling the effects of the recent budget and we don’t want to place any additional burden on them.”

The provincial budget released last month included a $3.5-million funding cut to libraries. Literacy and Aboriginal services grants were also eliminated. Quinlan says the cuts will mean a reduction in the number and type of cultural programs moving forward. In addition, the literacy program will have to be reviewed and restructured, he said.

The provincial budget cuts have also forced libraries across Saskatchewan to end inter-library loans.

“Unfortunately, we must narrow our focus and limit the sharing of our resources with other libraries across the province,” Quinlan said.

“That is contrary to what we believe a library should be – a welcoming centre of learning and literacy for everyone.”

Regina Public Library believes its permanent employees will not be affected by the cuts.

The organization will host two information sessions on the effects of the cuts on Regina’s public libraries and the provincial library system. The sessions will take place on April 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the mezzanine of the Central Library, located at 2311 12th Avenue.