The Okanagan Regional Library Board has approved a $15.4 million budget for 2011.
A statement issued Thursday said represents an increase of 3.8% over 2010, with 2.1% going to operations and 1.6% allocated to fund the building of a new library branch in downtown Vernon. Individual households will pay between $1 – $1.50 more for library service in 2011. The operational funds will go towards better customer service in such areas as:
- Increased hours for the North Shuswap branch based on population growth in that area.
- Increased bandwidth to improve Internet access within branches and to the online catalogue.
- $30,000 added to the collections budget.
- The Sicamous Branch moving into a larger space in the new hall being built by the District of Sicamous.
ORL Spokeswoman Marla O’Brien said the budget won’t impact the Revelstoke branch.
“Due to the economy, this is very much a status quo budget where hours are being kept the same at branches (other than those identified in the press release) and operations and programs will remain the same,” she said. “Hopefully Revelstoke customers will notice better Internet speeds on the computers in branch and wireless once we finish upgrading the bandwidth.”
At the November 17 meeting where it approved the budget, the board also heard an update on the progress of the Vernon building project and reviewed a schematic design for the building. Excavation of the site in downtown Vernon is expected to begin within weeks and the final design will be shared once approved in the next few months, the statement said.
Executive Director Lesley Dieno reported that the ORL is close to signing an agreement with the Westbank First Nation that would make them full partners in the regional library system, and that the ORL will be launching a new online catalogue application in 2011 that will enable customers to rate and give feedback on materials.