Oak Bay council approves financial boost to library

About six million items were borrowed from Greater Victoria Public Library branches last year.

That new record is, in part, reason why the GVPL is seeking a 4.95-per-cent increase in funding – roughly $631,000 – from 10 municipalities this year. Local governments are being asked to cover $13.6 million of the library’s $15.2-million operating budget for 2011.

On Monday night, Oak Bay council approved the district’s 1.07-per-cent share of that increase, bringing its entire share of this year’s budget to $868,886.

Mayor Christopher Causton said he was pleased the increase wasn’t more, while Coun. John Herbert said he was rendered speechless over the financial constraint shown by the library board.

“The library budgets, at times, have been extremely high – in the six-, seven-, eight-per-cent (range),” Herbert said.

Provincial funding to the GVPL is less now than 12 years ago, said library board chair Karel Roessingh. These cuts led to axing Sunday branch openings, which have since been reinstated but are also driving the budgetary increase.

The budget increase doesn’t reflect improvements or upgrades to facilities, Roessingh explained.