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Announcement of District of Lake Country Library Service Changes

by ORL News | Sep 22, 2021

The Okanagan Regional Library provides Library services to the citizens of Lake Country. For over 30 years, the Okanagan Regional Library Board has had established policies to guide communities and staff expectations for branch placement, sizes and open hours. The District of Lake Country has historically been serviced from 2 locations – the main library, which is currently situated in the Lake Country Municipal Hall and from a tiny location in Oyama. This Oyama library existed for historical reasons and has not met Board standards or policies for branch size or location (due to the small population being served and the proximity of other nearby libraries).  

During the summer of 2021, the building which the Library has been leasing for decades was put up for sale by the Oyama Community Association. The Library was notified that under the terms of any sale, tenants, including the Library, would be allowed to stay until the end of October. If the building sold, anything past that time would be at the discretion and terms of any new owner. This potential sale triggered an internal review of our operations and services to the District of Lake Country, explicitly focusing on the effectiveness of the services provided and the money spent to operate this tiny facility in Oyama. As part of this review, alternative forms of service to the community with the resources currently allocated to Oyama were considered.

Decision:

After reviewing the various options, staff recommended, and the Board agreed that the resources allocated to the operation of this tiny Oyama branch of the ORL could better serve the entire District of Lake Country. Service Changes that will begin in November include:

  • Closing of the Oyama Library and redirecting resources to extend the open hours of the main Lake Country Library by 8 hours a week (recommended to include 4 hours Sunday afternoons which is popular with families, plus four other hours). This branch is in the main service center of the community, about a 10-minute drive from Oyama. It is adjacent to the middle and high schools and the other services Oyama and all Lake Country citizens access, such as grocery stores, health and beauty, dining, entertainment and other shopping.  
  • The local programs like children's storytimes and Summer Reading Club the Oyama community had access to will be maintained by staff from the Lake Country Branch, who will travel to Oyama and offer them in a location such as the Oyama Community Hall.  
  • Other local services such as the book return bin and wi-fi service, which is popular with rail trail users and some locals, could also be continued by agreements with the Oyama Community Association or another local landowner such as the new owner of the [location] building.  

The proposed additional 8 hours of service, offered to the entire District of Lake country through the Lake Country library, would provide significantly more materials, more convenient open hours and many other services to the whole community. 

The Library Board and Management empathize with the community and appreciate that changes to local services are difficult, particularly for small communities. We believe that the approved changes implemented in the fall of 2021 will better direct the Library funding to provide more excellent services to more people in the entire District of Lake Country while maintaining local Oyama special programming and additional services such as wi-fi and a convenient book return. 

ORL is increasingly expanding its online catalogue, allowing for a more immersive in-home, on-the-road, relaxing by-the-lake library experience. In-person services are also increasingly supplemented by virtual services, including an expanding variety of virtual programs and resources such as pre-recorded classes and workshops, child and adult activities and other e-books and materials, which can be accessed online 24/7.

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