Langley Township asks for end to ‘stagnant’ library funding

Another $6 million a year is needed, campaign for libraries says

Stagnant provincial funding for libraries should end, Langley Township council declared this week.

The council voted unanimously on a motion to ask Victoria to loosen the purse strings on library funding, adding $6 million annually starting in 2020.

Councillor Petrina Arnason put forward the motion, noting the “$20 million in 2020” campaign is being spearheaded by the B.C. Library Trustees Association.

“The bottom line is, there’s money missing from our bottom line,” Arnason said at Monday afternoon’s council meeting.

Some funding for public library systems across B.C. comes from the provincial government, but that funding has remained stagnant at $14 million a year for the past decade, Arnason said.

As costs rise for everything libraries do, more money is needed. The motion, approved unanimously, is to send a letter to Minister of Education Rob Fleming asking the province to boost funding by $6 million next year, to $20 million.

Langley is part of the Fraser Valley Regional Library (FVRL) system, the largest system in the province by the number of people it serves. Yet, as reported earlier this year by the Langley Advance Times, the FVRL spends $500,000 less on new books and materials each year than the Vancouver Public Library, which serves a smaller population.

READ MORE: Libraries see growing demand, cost squeezes in Fraser Valley

Despite having less funding than Vancouver, the FVRL has in recent years expanded the items it offers for loan, including ukuleles, Sphero robots, and most recently, telescopes. The library also loans out a wide vareity of books, magazines, graphic novels, DVDs and CDs, and ebooks.

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