Okanagan Regional Library Board Highlights from September 11, 2013 - InfoNews

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Okanagan Regional Library Board Highlights from September 11, 2013

September 12, 2013 - 4:26 PM

Paul Tutsch, president, British Columbia Library Trustees Association

The board heard an update from Paul Tutsch, president of the BC Library Trustees Association, about some of the recent work of the 11 member board which represents 69 of the 72 library systems in BC, including the ORL. The BCTLA takes on an advocacy role representing trustees and libraries at various levels of government, especially provincial where they meet regularly with the Minister of Education who is responsible for libraries. Recent discussions have included provincial funding for libraries and revisions to the library act. The BCLTA also provides training to trustees and uses its network to help answer individual and board questions in regard to governance and policy. BCLTA will be host a booth at the upcoming UBCM conference for elected officials.

Provincial Apportionment Figures

The Board received correspondence from the Libraries and Literacy Branch of the Ministry of Education informing them that, for the 2014 year only, the population figures used for the annual apportionment data would be based on the 2011 Canada Census population data along with the BC Assessment land value data.  These numbers are used by the ORL to determine levy amounts and to determine weighted voting for financial matters. BC Stats will issue a revised population estimate in January of 2014 which will also be based on the 2011 federal census, but this will come a few months too late for the Board, which must, by law, determine the coming year’s budget by the November board meeting.  Under The Library Act, for the purpose of determining regional library apportionment, the Minister may choose to provide population figures from the federal census, from the provincial Minister of Finance (BC stats numbers), or other information he considers relevant.  The Board voted to receive the new apportionment and to implement the weighted vote figures immediately.  Because the BC Stats estimates provided by the Ministry in 2013 were still based on the 2006 Census year, some communities may see a larger than normal shift upwards or downwards in their levies.  This is a cyclical correction that occurs for each new census.

2014 Draft Budget Discussions

Chairman of the Finance Committee, Catherine Lord, presented a PowerPoint to the Board as a basis for discussion of the 2014 Draft Budget. The Finance Committee is recommending an overall increase of 1.56%, which amounts to about 70 cents per capita. The increase is due to inflation and some small initiatives such as increased programming.

Wi-Fi Access at the Okanagan Regional Library

After a successful pilot project, the Board has approved a policy change that allows login to the Okanagan Regional Library Wi-Fi system without the use of a library card and pin on a patron’s own wireless device. This will allow cardholders and non-cardholders to have unlimited access to the Wi-Fi in and outside of all branches within the ORL region, while removing cumbersome issues such as time restrictions and guest passes.  A library card and pin is still required for the use of in-branch internet stations.

Executive Director’s Report

Stephanie Hall reported that the HR department conducting a search for a new Public Services Manager to fill the current vacancy on the senior management team. A new Branch Head has been hired for the Westbank Branch and will begin work on October 15th. A pilot project with “virtual” library cards using the CardStar app for smart phones is underway. This service is currently available at branches with self-checkout machines and could be expanded to all branches in the future. Finally, the IT department has installed software onto several of the library laptops that allows for mobile registration of library cards at outreach events – this has already proven to be a big hit at events such as the Downtown Kelowna Block Party and New Student Orientation Days at Okanagan College and UBCO.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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