All they want for Christmas is $16,000 so the library will remain open five days a week.
Only a few months of funding remain for the Keremeos library to continue with current service levels. If funds don’t become available at either the provincial and local government level at least one person will lose their job and the library will be closed an additional day a week.
The budgeting process is just underway among local governments – Keremeos and the Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen.
All three local politicians that sit on the regional board, Keremeos Mayor Manfred Bauer, Area B director George Bush and Area G director Elef Christensen have failed to commit money to the library board at this point. The province has committed to doing a review of the library funding model but hasn’t stated when changes might take effect.
If money isn’t found in the next few months the Keremeos Library will have to let a valued staff member go, several programs will be cut, and hours of operation reduced.
Several politicians have noted they aren’t sure their constituents want taxes raised to keep the library open five days a week.
But there are ways that taxes could remain the same but money put into the library board instead of things like the Hedley Cemetery, or legal fees to disband a fledgling community forest company or perhaps area politicians could skip one or more conferences in 2018. Perhaps only one representative needs to go to SILGA or UBCM instead of all three politicians in the Lower Similkameen. And maybe no one needs to attend FCM. Christensen has attended the federal conference that is geared to larger cities like Toronto and Vancouver for the past several years.
It’s not to say that there isn’t any value in attending conferences. But one has to wonder what the value of talking to minister’s and staff about issues like lack of funding for the library compared to solving the issue by just not going or reducing the number of people going.
It’s certainly something to think about.
Libraries not only act as a place for people to obtain information and sign out materials, it also offers a place for social activity and in small communities often acts as a cultural hub.
For those that want to see the library continue with current service levels please reach out to your local politician or write a letter to the editor. If the public doesn’t voice their concerns on this matter funding most likely will not be secured and the library will lose staff, programs and operational hours.