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Saanich budget talks include contribution to flourishing library service

GVPL welcomed 12,488 people across region as new cardholders, had 1.1 million in-person visits
The Greater Victoria Public Library presented its 2022 budget request to Saanich council on March 10. (Photo courtesy of Greater Victoria Public Library)

Access to books remains a core value to the District of Saanich council, as pieces of the financial plans were discussed during a Thursday (March 10) meeting.

In a presentation to council highlighting the importance of library services in the district, Greater Victoria Public Library CEO Maureen Sawa reminded listeners that libraries across the region operate using a shared service model, before addressing the organization’s budget.

Highlights on the importance of these services were brought to the table, as a contribution to GVPL makes up part of Saanich’s budget.

“ … I am pleased to note that the budget will continue to offer the services that are so valued by the community in a cost-effective manner,” said Coun. Karen Harper, council’s representative on the GVPL board of trustees.

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The 2022 budget calls for the maintenance of existing services, Sawa said. The requisition from Saanich is just over $6 million, which represents a 32.77-per-cent share of the GVPL total budget for library services of just under $18.5 million. As the largest municipality in the region, Saanich annually makes the highest contribution to the GVPL budget.

According to research conducted for library services, 12,488 residents became new GVPL cardholders in 2021 and there were over one million in-person visits.

A survey determined that 94 per cent of respondents agree library services are important to lifelong learning for people of all ages, while 92 per cent agree they contribute to the community’s well-being.

“Coun. Harper mentioned the importance of equity and I know this is very important for the District of Saanich, so we are creating equity-building services and programs to refine our strengths and identify unmet community needs and service gaps,” Sawa said.

Saanich’s budget discussions continue.

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