Greenwood’s public library called upon city hall this week to boost its share of library funding. Library Board chair Anne Rayner Gould reminded city council Monday evening, Feb. 8, that she’d made the same appeal shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic hit last spring.
“In real terms, we’re finding that the library is becoming financially worse off each year,” she said.
The library is slated to run a deficit of just over $1,200, according to its 2021 budget. It has the second-lowest per capita funding by local governments out of 71 libraries in B.C., according to provincial statistics cited by Rayner Gould. The City of Greenwood last increased library funding in 2015, when council approved a $400 bump, she said.
The library needs more money for staff and administrative expenses, she added, noting that the library’s obligations “are becoming more complex all the time.” This year’s budget affords around $28,000 in wages and administrative fees for the library’s two part-time employees, a figure that amounts to slightly less than one-third of the nearly $50,000 total.
The City of Greenwood now contributes $6,400 to the library’s annual budget. Community Futures Boundary, which provides loans and other programs to area small businesses, kicks in $4,800. The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary provides $3,750, according to 2021 figures.
Rayner Gould said the library might lose future contributions by the BC Gaming Commission, which she said is facing massive revenue losses amid the pandemic. The commission has committed to provide the library $5,600 this year.
Rayner Gould thanked mayor and council for their continued support, highlighting that the city charges the library $1 per year to rent its space at the McArthur Centre. The library would not be able to operate outside of this generous arrangement, she said.