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Library vote a numbers game

This is about more than books.

The people of Nelson have a large stake in the referenda that will take place this Saturday in the regional district areas of E, F and southern H.

It means expanded library hours, a bigger collection and the promise of more provincial funding and a sustainable future, according to the numbers released by the Nelson Municipal Library, one week before the vote goes down.

Rural residents in those areas are some of the few people in the province who don’t have library service, said chief librarian June Stockdale, but that could change if the vote goes in favour of rural taxation for the municipal-based service.

Here are some other points:

Library use among rural residents

• 17 per cent of library memberships are from rural residents.

• Rural members borrow 30 per cent of all collection materials that circulate. 

• This is 67,000 items circulated to residents of Areas E, F and H in 2009, value of $2 million.

• In the rest of BC, where people do not have to purchase memberships, over 80 per cent of the population has a library card.

Cost sharing with the City of Nelson

• The proposed rural tax would not replace city income but would be in addition to what City of Nelson residents pay.

• The proposed service is one of cost sharing, rather than a full partnership, with one third coming from rural areas and two thirds from the City.

Leveraging additional funds from the Province

• The Province will contribute per capita matching monies that will amount to approximately $60,000 if all areas vote yes. 

• Currently the library does not receive any funding from the province for the 11,700 rural residents, many of whom use the library’s programs and services.

New programs and services

• A “yes” vote will mean that all rural residents will have universal access to Nelson Library services, and to all BC libraries through the BC One Card program.

• It will also mean outreach services to the Slocan Valley and up Kootenay Lake, shut in service for those who can’t leave their homes, expanded hours, and a larger collection at the main library.

• Each area that votes yes will also have a seat on the Library board.

• Yes votes in all rural areas will allow for expanded services for youth.

User fees

  If residents vote “no,” the library will have to raise the membership fee to $120 to reflect the cost of delivering the service.

Local tax for a local service

• In the case of the proposed tax for library service, rural residents will participate in defining how the services are delivered and how the budget is managed.

• Local residents are being asked to support a local service that is managed by local people for the benefit of local communities.  

Support for students

• A quote from the Kootenay Lake District Parent Advisory Council:

“Kootenay Lake DPAC encourages all eligible voters to support the upcoming Referenda for Regional Library Services. Providing library access to rural residents is important to supporting literacy and learning. As well, the proposed services offered in partnership with School District #8 will support students in accessing resources that they might not otherwise have access to. We encourage you to vote on Oct 16 to support this important service expansion.”

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Source: Nelson Municipal Library