Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Library's Annual Report notes funding issue; plans for the future

With funding issues now behind them for the year, the Prince Rupert Library delivered its Annual Report last month, providing a review of a challenging year and a look ahead to what the Library may look like in the near future.

Library Chair Tim MacDonald opens the Report, retracing some of the financial events of the year just past, noting how the Library came close to losing 16 per cent of its funding in the first few months of 2016, a funding allocation that was eventually reversed during the City's budget process into the Spring.  Though had the 16 per cent cut gone ahead as planned, the Library Chair observed that service reductions and job losses would have been unavoidable.

MacDonald also observed on the strong support that the Library found from the community during the early months of 2016, where library users and non-users alike, made their voices heard when it came to the importance of the Library to residents of Prince Rupert and the region.

Towards a better funding plan for the years ahead, MacDonald also reviewed the prospect of further discussions between the City and the Library Board to find a replacement for the Community Grant Application process, something that both sides hope will deliver a more predictable and stable funding arrangement.

Chief Librarian Joe Zelwietro provided the operational overview of 2015, a few of the highlights from the Report included:

The management and union successfully negotiated a multi-year agreement giving the library stability and cost certainty for the next few years.

The User Stations at the Library allowed residents almost 11,000 sessions through 2015.

A partnership with a local ferry Company provided books for children travelling on the Lax Kw'alaams Ferry, while increased Library tours have included the students of early primary grades from nearby villages.

Literacy events at the Library and the Rupert Square Mall proved to be very successful and brought in children from families that have economic barriers.

The Prince Rupert Library hosted the Annual North Coast Library Association, bringing together Library directors and trustees from Prince Rupert and many communities around the Northwest.

The report notes how the Library is an important community hub for residents of Prince Rupert and the surrounding area, offering a number of services, offering access to material that many residents of the community don't have the economic means to access otherwise.

The Library has also been an important conduit for residents to help those in the community that may be struggling financially, the 2015 Food-for-Fines program over the holiday period delivered almost 1,000 dollars worth of food items to the Salvation Army during the Christmas/New Years period.

The statistics from the last year show a slight increase in use as well as in patrons from 2014, with upward trends in such areas as circulation, inter-library loan traffic as well as with some of the adult programs in place at the Library.

For 2016, the Report notes that new programming, improved collections and new relationships with community partners make for the goals of the year.

The full Annual Report can be reviewed here from the Prince Rupert Library website.

Any events that take place or are planned for the Library can be found on our North Coast events archive.

Some background on the financial issues of the year for the Library can be reviewed below:

January 11 -- Community Enhancement Grant Applicants to learn their funding levels tonight
January 13 -- Council to reduce funding for Library and redistribute some of the funds to the Museum and Lester Centre
January 28 -- Library cuts the main focus for public comment portion of Monday's Council session
February 22 -- Prince Rupert teachers outline their concerns on topic of Library cuts
March 15 -- Few questions from the public for Council at Budget Consultation Forum
March 16 -- Full Library funding restored for year ahead
March 21 -- Renewed appreciation for Prince Rupert Library after recent issues

For more items related to City Council issues see our Council Archive here.

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