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The Okanagan Regional Library will be hosting a public town hall on the evening of Thursday, May 28, 2015 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the Salmon Arm library Branch in Piccadilly Mall. Members of the public are invited to share their thoughts on the services most important and vital in the Salmon Arm and Shuswap communities.
This consultation is a next step in a two-year planning process designed to align municipal revenues with library services and address imbalances between communities in the ORL’s vast BC Southern Interior region.
“The evening is meant to be a conversation, asking attendees how they see library services changing to remain relevant and meaningful in their lives,” says the ORL’s CEO Stephanie Hall, who will be at the town hall to answer questions and gather feedback.
“We know that the Salmon Arm branch is highly valued in the community and that discussions around service changes can be difficult. That’s why it’s important to hear from library members and the public so plans can be modified or created in line with the community’s needs,” she adds.
As a regional library system stretching from Golden to Osoyoos with over 750,000 items, the ORL periodically conducts targeted reviews of different aspects of library service. This meeting is one of three town halls being organized in the ORL region as a result of a 2013 review of expenditures vs revenues conducted by Grant Thornton. The report found that spending in some communities was out of alignment with tax revenue received and the ORL Board wants to address this.
At the Salmon Arm branch, adjustments to services suggested include a closure on Sundays and a revision to reference staffing levels, with most other services staying the same.
“Our goal is to provide the best service we can with the dollars we have,” explains Hall.
Everyone is invited and RSVPs are not required. The Salmon Arm branch is located in Picadilly Mall at 1151 – 10th Avenue SW.
The Okanagan Regional Library Board of Directors reviewed and accepted a clean audit of the 2014 Financial Statements at their Board meeting yesterday. Auditors BDO reported that the ORL’s revenues and expenses were very close to what was budgeted and consistent with previous years, with the exception of costs associated with the construction of the new Summerland branch due to open in late summer.
Taking Summerland out of the equation, total revenues for the regional library system were slightly higher than the previous year, totaling $17,150,067. Likewise, expenses were slightly elevated to $17,613,159 with an increase in acquisition of electronic resources and modest wage increases. The ORL’s Financial Manager, Don Nettleton, also reported that revenues and expenses for the first quarter of 2015 are in line with budget projections.
The ORL Board is embarking on a strategic planning process, and participated in a session reviewing the previous 2012-2015 plan and defining what success looks like for the future of the library. In order to accomplish this, the Board wants to learn more about how libraries are being utilized in the region, best practices from other libraries, and hear from their communities about what services matter to them in a landscape of change.
Updates about branches included:
- The downtown Kelowna Branch will be look at for a reconfiguration in order to provide new technology-based services and maximize synergies with the adjacent Okanagan Centre for Innovation.
- Rutland branch is being expanded from its current 6,000 up to 10,000 sq feet and is targeted to open in early June.
- Director Carol Zanon reported that the District of West Kelowna held its budget consultation at the West Kelowna branch, which brought more public engagement than in previous years.
- Director Tim Lavery reported that the Salmon Arm City Council will hold its regular council meeting at their local branch on May 25.
- Director Karla Kozakevich with the Okanagan Similkameen Regional District noted that provincial funds have been received to pave the parking lot and make the Naramata branch entrance more accessible.
Beginning May 13, there is an alternate route to access the library and parkade during the construction period, which is expected to last several months. Vehicle access to the library and parkade will be off Ellis St on a temporary driveway, the entire driveway will be one way entering from Ellis St and exiting onto Doyle Ave.
Please be very careful walking around the library during this period, as the only sidewalk will be the one right against the curved wall of the building.
The Naramata Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library will be making a change to its open hours. Beginning Tuesday, May 5th, the NEW hours are:
Tuesday - 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Thursday - 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Friday - 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
The Naramata Branch of the ORL is located at 3580 Third Street in Naramata. For further information, please call the branch at (250) 496-5679.
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