Directors voted to approve the Gibsons and District Public Library funding request and include it in the second round of the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) budget deliberations in March.
If approved at the next round, taxes collected from SCRD areas for the library would total $610,309 – a 2.5 per cent increase over last year. Taxes from the Town of Gibsons and Areas D, E and F contribute to the library.
During her presentation to the board, library director Heather Evans-Cullen said “programming has really exploded at the library,” specifically programming directed at children, youth and “vulnerable older adults.”
Youth participation in programming grew 95 per cent between 2017 and 2018, compared over the same nine-month period. Adult programming rose 25 per cent. Programs offered have also increased, prompting the library to expand its spending on the service by 24 per cent to $15,500.
The library also noted a “major increase” in the use of Wi-Fi, but did not increase its budget as a result of the growth.
Other budget increases were for staff development and book purchasing. A new collective agreement has led to a rise in wages to account for cost-of-living standards, in addition to a staff review.
Evans-Cullen told directors the library has partnered with RainCity Housing, which operates a nearby shelter. That proximity has led to “an increase in the number of people seeking day shelter” there, according to the library’s budget report. To accommodate those visitors, the library now offers a limited-access library card that does not require a phone number or address.
Gibsons director Bill Beamish thanked the library for offering the service.
“Knowing the public library recognizes this need and is able to accommodate this need is very important,” he said.
The library report also noted that while the population of the community has increased, funding from the provincial government through a per-capita operating grant has decreased slightly because of the larger tax base.
Prior to the vote directors praised the library for the modest increase in its overall operating expenses of 2.2 per cent to $698,675