Thank You,Vancouver Public Library Patrons, Workers, CUPE, Library Board…

A heartfelt thank-you goes out to those library patrons, workers, and Library Board members that lobbied tirelessly on behalf of libraries as a great social and civic service, and public treasure.  Hats off to the Library Board Chair Joan Andersen, who lobbied Council for no cuts to hours of opening to the libraries.  Much of what Joan Andersen had to say was in my report, and Patricia Moir’s original report, so we had to revise quickly.  My query to Council was, ” had anyone ever done a Social Return on Investment on Vancouver Library?,” because for every library dollar spent the community received back anywhere from $5-$10 in measurable value.  City Council asked me to submit a further report (which I did Wednesday December 16) and to ask the Library Board to consider producing a SROI report (I made request at December 9th Board meeting).  The Board will be bring this forward probably at January meeting.  Each cut to library service represents a loss of revenue, social and otherwise, to the public we serve.

Craig Nelson presented the second evening of public hearings about the impact of libraries on vulnerable populations (personal experience as a child) and library workers.  Great job, Craig! You supported your fellow members and those you serve, with energy and dedication.  Todd Wong, who is well-known with Council for his work with our diverse and cultural communities, spoke for both Jacob Breen (who was ill) and himself, on CUPE 391’s perspective on budget cuts.  Todd also was asked questions from Council.  Gloria Hershorn presented on the last evening.  She reminded Council what we lost with the contracting out of the Bindery and how it opened the doors to the loss of local control with Collection Development.  Gloria and Todd received much appreciation from the gallery.  Here are how the Operating Budget 2010 Recommendations cuts play out.  Vancouver Public Library fared the best of all the community services.

A. Council approve budget resolution for final Operating Budget with a property tax increase of 2.26 %
B. Council approve the funding requests and proposed service adjustments as outlined in December 1, 2009 Administrative Report, 2010 Operating Budget: Proposed Budget and Public Consultation Update:
Following Adjustments:

  • Funding of $153,000 to retain Riley Park with savings from the delayed implementation of the remaining 2% of Exempt staff’s 4% increase for 2010.  Exempt City Staff will receive 23.5% in salary increases from 2007-2011.
  • Increase funding to VPL branches serving vulnerable populations by $192,000
  • Increase funding to the VPL Central Library to retain current operating hours
  • $500,00 City’s emergency shelter program
  • $300,00 contingency fund

Notable by its absence is any reference to the $360,000 in cuts and positions to Technical Services (Acquisitions, Preparations, Cataloguing).  Paul Whitney told me the day after CUPE WritersFest, that there would be no further implementation of shelf-ready materials.

The City Librarian also said there would be a Library Board meeting on December 21st.  Please call Chrysalyn Tolentino at 604-331-4003 or e-mail her at if you wish to attend or speak.
Thanks again to Ed Dickson, Craig Nelson, the fabulous Riley Park gang and Randy Gatley for speaking to the Library Board in November and December.  When we act together with those we serve, we get results.  Today’s restoration of some of the funding is the result of ongoing networking with every user group and political group in the City and sometimes, the province, and great public awareness campaigning from CUPE Regional and CUPE BC.  That is what it takes – recognition of shared values, citizenship and solidarity.