September 23, 2016 - 6:30 PM
KELOWNA – Directors of the Okanagan Regional Library Board have completed a review of the proposed 2017 Budget and will vote on a 1.98 per cent increase this November.
The increase amounts to 1.6 per cent in inflationary expenses and an additional $70,000 for new initiatives, according to a media release.
Finance Committee chair Lori Mindnich says they tried to keep the overall budget concurrent with current inflation levels while at the same time meeting the needs of younger users.
“New dollars target the increasing demand for library programming, learning initiatives, and outreach, and training for staff to assist the public with the sweeping technology changes present today,” she says. “In 2015, the ORL saw a 20 per cent increase in attendance at classes and programs, with adult attendance doubling.”
The Board had a 2016 operating budget of $18.3 million.
The release also says staff at the review reported on the newly-adopted Strategic Plan, which focused on “transforming the library to meet the changing learning needs of Southern Interior residents.”
“Demand for bandwidth and Wi-Fi access continues to increase, with free hours used at 57 Wi-Fi hotspots increasing from 160,000 hours in 2014 to 341,000 hours in 2015,” the release says. “Also highlighted were the Master Plan for the downtown Kelowna branch’s revitalization and new targeted services available to members with print disabilities.
“The ORL can provide free home delivery and download of materials for the blind, for people with learning disabilities, and for those who can’t physically contend with standard print materials. In addition, with the help of the Central Okanagan Foundation, the ORL recently launched a pilot to loan out tablets preloaded with these special materials. It is estimated that 10 per cent of the Canadian population has impairments reading traditional print formats and many in the public aren’t aware of free services available to them through the library.”
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