Despite Cuts; Library Asking for Budget Increase


Robert Thomas

After the pages were turned, the book on the Moose Jaw Public Library’s 2018 budget would best be entitled, ‘Status Quo’.

Presented by Head Librarian, Gwen Fisher, council was told that there was a lot of talk, provincially, that there was "no need for libraries", in light of the now rolled out cutbacks to regional libraries budgets by the province.

'That's not true," Fisher stated, pointing to 14,381 computer logins, 205,000 visits and 5759 people in 415 programs as evidence of the libraries popularity.  "Not everyone has Internet access," she said.

The Library is seeking $1,163,406 in 2018 up from $1,147,546 in 2017. An increase of $15,860. The majority of the increase sought by the Library is for employee wage increases. The Library needs $11,597 to cover wage increases. The Library employs 12 full-time and 11 part-time for 18.8 Full-Time Equivalent positions. 

Other increases being sought are to the materials budget, part of the Palliser Regional Library levy, of 2.1 per cent or $5,519. The figure is based upon the Saskatchewan Consumer’s Price Index as it relates to education and reading.

Additionally, a two per cent increase is being sought for the Equipment Reserve Budget, as requested by the City’s Financial Services Department.

The largest expenditure for the library is $1,083,740 to support the Palliser Regional Library. This cost is a levy mandated by Provincial legislation and is required to be paid whether Moose Jaw operated a library or not.

In their report to council, the Library speaks about it's importance in the community. And stresses that it's a place for people to read but at the same time acts as so much more.

There is a children’s as well as an adult department, each with it's own dedicated staff.

The Library is a major depository of Moose Jaw’s past, with archives that catalogue much of the City’s history. Much of the collection is donated. Five library technicians, from the reference desk, assist patrons to access materials in the collection.

A technical services department provides support services to library staff.

E-books, downloadable audio books and video games are being actively added to it's enhanced collection and much of the programming is important. 

The Library promotes itself and its services to a variety of groups. they want to attract people to attend the physical library and encourage those attending to make use of what is being offered.

The Library operating budget will now be considered at the main budget meetings on January 12 and 13 at City Hall.

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