Oak Bay councillor to guide library board

GVPL board looks to take the pulse of Greater Victoria’s library users

Oak Bay Coun. Kevin Murdoch and his daughter Harper

Oak Bay Coun. Kevin Murdoch and his daughter Harper

Oak Bay Coun. Kevin Murdoch believes strongly in the philosophy that access to information should be open to all.

“As a family we use it a lot. I grew up reading all the time, still do,” he said. “There are a few aspects of our community that we could offer equal and open access. Information, digital or in print, I firmly believe falls in that category.”

That philosophy should bode well with the his new role as chair of the board that governs the Greater Victoria Public Library. Saanich citizen representative Anne Kirkaldy was elected vice-chair. Murdoch served previously as the vice-chair of the planning committee and vice-chair of the board.

“I’m right now going through and making an effort to meet all the members of the board,” he said. “It’s a very good board, my experience has been that people come very prepared for meetings, they’re very involved and they care about the library overall – regionally.

“We can leverage that to do a good job. It’s a lot of work to get an understanding of what people want, what their vision is of the library.

That will be the first task, getting to know what people want from the more than 300,000 residents served in Oak Bay, Central Saanich, Colwood, Esquimalt, Highlands, Langford, Metchosin, Saanich, Victoria and View Royal.

It could be a year of “fairly involved” reaching out to stakeholder groups as the board develops a strategic plan surrounding already proposed initiatives and funding those plans and services.

“That’s going to be our big goal this year,” Murdoch said. “If we do it right, and I plan to do it right, then it’s got to be fairly exhaustive to make sure we are considering all the options.”

He said many people don’t realize the scope of things the library provides and the services that have been added over the years, from a seed library or family passes to the provincial museum or Victoria’s art gallery and massive electronic media additions to the collections.

“There’s a lot of stuff going on and it’s interesting. We’ve added a huge amount of programming in the last two or three years. There’s been a net neutral cost to that,” he said. “I have to give a lot of credit to the staff who do an amazing job of finding ways to work – within the staffing and structures – to get things done. We have a really good foundation for the next year. It’s a very good place to be, we’re building on a strength.”

Learn more about the library at gvpl.ca.