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LETTER: Sidney stuck with a third-rate library

Your readers should know that the Sidney council has delayed any discussion about a library review until the fourth quarter of 2022.

What could possibly be more important than libraries? Books are what people rely on when not socializing. Books and book clubs keep people sane in this pandemic. This much needed review on libraries affects all citizens in Sidney and North Saanich and has long range consequences for all of us.

The mayor recently informed me of the 2021 strategic plan without reviewing our library. It seems that the Library Act and its time frame are being used as an excuse by the council not to deal with this issue. I understand COVID is an unexpected pressure on the Town of Sidney, but we need to keep vital infrastructure, like our library, strong and up to date. The recent library cosmetic makeover (necessitated by safety standard concerns) had nothing to do with the issues of the quality of our library services.

I am very disappointed in this political decision council has made regarding libraries, particularly since I have been discussing libraries with individual council members who have remained on the current council since 2017. It is totally within the council’s power to start earlier on a library review, before this council’s mandate expires. It is ridiculous to make this issue into a two-term process.

Sidney continues to spend more than $750,000 a year, along with North Saanich spending a like amount, for our one building, and outdated collection. Coun. Wainwright has presented spreadsheets proving we will save money by changing library systems. The savings would easily pay for the earlier referendum.

With this decision by council, any changes to the library agreement will not even be initiated until 2024 at best. That’s absurd and we can do better.

I am very disappointed in this decision. They call Sidney a book town and we still have a third-rate library.

Robyn Quaintance

Sidney

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