The District of Central Saanich is calling on the B.C. government to restore library funding.
Council voted unanimously to support Coun. Zeb King’s motion, and mayor Ryan Windsor wrote to minister Rob Fleming calling for a meeting on the issue.
The district’s library funding from B.C. dried up in 2009 and since then, inflationary costs have increasingly been shouldered by property tax payers.
Although it is too early to say the exact figure Central Saanich is seeking, it is believed to be in the magnitude of $950,000. This would depend on what funding mechanism was put in place, if it were to be addressed.
Council argues that the B.C. government will be working towards their stated goal to eliminate poverty and aid social justice by funding the libraries. In a written recommendation document, council says, “libraries are a great social equalizer that provide universal access to information and learning materials irrespective of income levels.”
Some residents ask why council is bothering with libraries in the information age.
“The physical footprint [of libraries] might be shrinking but they are data centres and will continue to play a role in the community,” says Windsor. “The physical medium of books might be getting used less, but as centres of information and knowledge gathering, libraries are still important.”
Libraries now host video games, DVDs and computer workstations, making them attractive for a wide range of users. Windsor makes the point that people are still reading, “Digital lending is actually growing,” he says.
For more information on the Greater Victoria Public Library visit gvpl.ca/branches-hours.