Okanagan libraries running on tight budget, future focus on community spaces - InfoNews

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Okanagan libraries running on tight budget, future focus on community spaces

Okanagan Regional Library.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED
December 15, 2019 - 3:30 PM

Okanagan libraries are running on a tight budget, spending as much as 30 per cent less than other B.C. libraries on major expenditures such as salaries and wages.

The current overall budget is just over $19 million per year, according to a report by library director Don Nettleton that's going to Lake Country council this week.

Ninety-one per cent of that budget comes from taxes paid by Okanagan property owners. Their share amounts to $44.76 per capita, which is below the B.C. average of $48.65. Okanagan Regional Library used to get as much as 20 per cent of its budget from provincial grants but now provincial funding accounts for just over five per cent.

Nettleton said in his report that over recent years the library board has kept annual budget changes at or below inflation rates and has focused on finding internal efficiencies to reallocate funding to new initiatives.

"In the past five years, the Library Board also implemented an internal financial redistribution to bring closer into line the library service costs in each community and the taxes received from that community," Nettleton wrote. 

"This redistribution was largely implemented using attrition and is expected to be a continuous process."

In the years ahead the library is going to focus on continuing programming expansion to all ages, increasing digital literacy training and digital collections.

They're also going to work on transitioning spaces to provide community hubs and gathering spots.


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