Have Your Say at Public Board Meeting Wednesday November 25, 2009 5.30 p.m. @ Central Library, Level

Our members of the public may want to have a say in what services are cut at Vancouver Public Library.  The Board will be deciding on recommendations made by the Management on November 25th at Central Library (350 West Georgia).  City Management have recommended cuts of $1.6 million to Vancouver Public Library Services.  See Report http://www.vpl.ca/news/details/library_2010_budget.  Some of the areas in this budget have been targeted by the Directors since the Bindery was closed.  We are not going down that slippery slope” the Library Board said in 2006.  Well, we certainly are!  Have a look.

Management recommends
* Reduce the Technical Services budget by $360,000
* Reduce the Collections budget by $180,000

This means that 5.2 staff will be cut from Cataloguing and Acquisitions and icludes other services that keep our collection local.  Do you want collections that reflect the profit margin line of a company from California or Calgary or do you want to continue to support our local publishers and writers?  We have a very culturally diverse population that we serve, but isn’t that our job?  We catalogue our collections so that you can find all those government reports that get buried in libraries with less resources.  We are a provincial library in all but name and you, the public, need to find your materials on our shelves.  Attend the Library Board meeting on November 25th At 5.30 p.m. Central Library, 350 W. Georgia St. level 7, Staff Lounge and voice your concerns. You, the taxpayer, own this library.  Check if there are events on in the neighbourhood if you are bring your vehicle.  Parking zooms from $6.50 to $20 in the evenings when there is a hockey game, etc.

Management recommends:
* Reduce operating hours and related staffing budgets at up to 13 neighbourhood branches
* Reduce the public service staffing budget while maintaining current hours at the Central Library: $419,000

In economic downturns, people use the library more than ever.  People are visiting Vancouver Public Library more often and checking out items with greater frequency. As the country copes with the impact of the economic downturn, Lower Mainland residents have the opportunity to reap the benefits of their tax dollars by using public libraries. Patrons can borrow books, attend programs, read newspapers and magazines, and use the computers for free. The bottom line is that with a library card, people can access countless valuable, free materials and services to assist with three important aspects of life; entertainment, education, and employment.

Many people are borrowing books, DVDs, and audio materials instead of buying them. In addition, VPL offers book discussions and entertaining programs for children, teens, and adults at no cost. Now more than ever, residents are encouraged to use their library card to open the door to a world of education, employment, and entertainment resources.

Adults have access to over one hundred newspapers (plus international newspaper databases) in the branches or can attend a program. Teens can spend time browsing materials or working with friends in the Young Adult Area on Level Two at Central branch which has its own seating area and computers or access collections in the other twenty-one branches. Children can meet new friends at storytime or play games on the children’s computers and develop early literacy skills through our wonderful Childrens Librarians programming.

In this difficult economic climate, the public can depend on the library and librarians to assist with lifelong learning.  Vancouver Public Library has an extensive collection (2.6 million items) of nonfiction books, audio materials, and online databases covering every subject area and interest. For example, we have many resources for those faced with home repairs, Bike repair, car manuals.  Do you want to improve foreign language skills or find low cost recipes for the family?  Do you need a business plan to restructure or start a buisness?  The library staff will be happy tp assist you find what you need.

As more people are faced with possible employment changes (including us), the Library has become the place to borrow materials to rewrite your resume or help you get ready for an interview. There is a Job Search section in the Business Collection on Level Four at Central Library where books on careers can be found. Patrons can use their library card to access the business databases, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to research prospective employers.

Management recommends
Close the Riley Park Branch: $515,000
* Popular adult and children’s fiction and non-fiction.
* Adult and children’s books and magazines in Chinese.
* Literacy collection.

This branch is heavily used by the people in this community.  It shares space with Little Mountain House; I am surprised that the savings are $515,000.

In these difficult economic times, the Vancouver Public Library should continue to be a community centre where residents can find an array of free information resources and services that can better lives and support lifelong learning.  What is the Social Retrun on Investment for our Vancouver Public Library services?  Civic Services are the great common denominator in these times.  Every one can still have access to a decent life through there local library. Please attend the Library Board meeting on November 25th at 5.30 and have your say.  Phone 604-331-4003 or e-mail chrysalyn.tolentino@vpl.ca to book a seat at the meat and let the library know if you wish to speak.  The public has the same righ to access Library Board meetings as Council meetings and Parks Board meetings.  Too much business is done in camera without your say.  Show up and be counted.

thank you

Alexandra Youngberg
CUPE Local 391, President