Saskatchewan library users have long had the option to find the title they were looking for at any library in the province, but that has come to an end. Library cost cutting has forced an end to provincewide borrowing.

The new restrictions come as a result of a $3.5-million funding cut in the provincial budget. 693,000 books were shipped between libraries across the province last year. That will stop effective April 4.

“With a single stroke of its red pen, the provincial government has closed the borders between libraries in this province,” Regina Public Library Board Chair Sean Quinlan said Tuesday. “What was once a nationally recognized system of sharing and efficiency is no longer sustainable.”

Rural residents will still be able to borrow books in person from city libraries. However, that too is under review. The Regina Public Library says it will depend on what its budget will allow following an additional $700,000 provincial budget cut to our city.

“Branches such as Sunrise at the edge of the city are accessed by hundreds of users from the surrounding area,” Quinlan said. “As much as we don’t want to limit access to these loyal customers, we may have to.”

Before Tuesday, Saskatchewan’s inter-library loan system made it the largest regional library in the country.