The Quebec Public Library Association (ABPQ) has unveiled its first-ever National Portrait of Quebec Public Libraries, which gives a 66 per cent grade to the province's library services.

Produced as part of the BiblioQUALITÉ program, and in conjunction with the 24th edition of Quebec Public Library Week, the report reveals that Quebec's institutions are only slightly above a passing grade.

Based on five evaluation criteria, namely acquisition expenses, opening hours, surface area, seating capacity and human resources, the portrait presents the results obtained for each administrative region in comparison with the provincial result obtained.

Of the five criteria, the highest score was only 74 per cent for seating capacity. Again, the report indicates that public libraries are 15,268 seats short of the level of excellence for their users. The other indicators all received scores between 65 per cent and 70 per cent.

The main issue for public libraries remains the lack of staff, a major challenge in the current context of labour shortages. According to the portrait, there is a shortage of more than 1,300 full-time employees in the entire Quebec library network.

ABPQ excecutive director Eve Lagacé explained in an interview that municipalities should make the necessary investments to make up for these shortages in their institutions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Oct. 17, 2022.