Submitted Programs like Story Time will most likely be cancelled or be minimally available as cutbacks happen at the Keremeos Library starting in February.

Cutbacks at Keremeos library expected to start

Library to only be open four days a week starting in February

  • Dec. 28, 2017 1:33 p.m.

Without support from Area G, the library will see a reduction of staffing hours and only be open four days a week starting February.

Stephanie Hall, executive director for the Okanagan Regional Library said she waited to announce the change of hours because regional politicians thought they might be able to come up with the money.

“Unfortunately it looks like we will be reducing the hours starting in February. There was some idea from the Village of Keremeos and Area B that they wanted to keep funding the library, but one regional district area is saying no. We’re keeping the hours the same in January to see if anything can be cobbled together but it doesn’t look like it will happen at this point,” she said.

Elef Christensen, director for Area G including Hedley, Olalla and Rural Keremeos, said a recent survey he did with his constituents pointed to them not wanting to pay more taxes to keep the library open.

“I sent a letter to both George (Area B) and Manfred (Keremeos) and Stephanie Hall… I can’t do anything. I had a survey and the constituency said no. No more funding. They get $55,000 out of Area G already. So, it’s not me. It’s the constituency that said no.”

The results of that survey have not been presented at the Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen or provided to the Review.

George Bush, Area B representative said he’s disappointed in Christensen’s decision not to continue funding the library for one more year.

“Of course I’m disappointed. I think our library is much more than just a library and I think a lot of people think that with the internet the library isn’t as important as it was but that’s wrong. It really acts as a hub for our communities and it’s important,” he said. “There’s no hard feelings. I don’t think it’s the director so much as I think he’s just following his job and doing what his constituents want.”

Bush said he did not poll his constituents on the matter, but hadn’t heard much in the way of resistance to the idea from the public at least in the Cawston area.

“We were only thinking of doing it because we have a new government and we were thinking of doing it for one more year and then the Province would hopefully come up with a solution,” he said.

Keremeos Mayor Manfred Bauer was committed to putting in the village’s portion of $16,000 needed to keep the library open five days a week and keep staffing hours.

He planned to continue discussions with the Province on developing a rural library fund to help the funding formula issue. Currently the library is taxed using a formula of property assessment and population. Rural areas that have lower valued properties and smaller populations collect less money to run the library.

Although details are continuing to be worked out it looks as if cutbacks are required, the new hours will be Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday closed, Tuesday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. for a total of 20 open hours.

Hall said programs will be cutback as a result of the loss of a five-hour per week staff position in February. Another 5.5 hours at the library will be lost through attrition in the future.

“Staff in the branch are, in my view, excellent, and very committed to the community. This is a difficult change for the ORL and for them, but we will work to provide the best library service we have within available funding,” she said.

The regional district started provided supplementary funding to the library in 2016 after the ORL underwent a strategic review and found that money from larger centres like Kelowna were being used to subsidize smaller centres including Keremeos, Princeton and other areas.

In 2016, after a public meeting in Keremeos the regional directors agreed to provide $25,000 in funding to keep the library functioning at the service level at the time. In 2017, regional directors reduced that funding to $16,311 split between Keremeos, Area B, and Area G which meant a reduction in staffing hours but not open hours.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Princeton high school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

Bench plaque recognizes former Summerland firefighter

Volunteers with fire department set up plaque in honour of Richard Estabrooks

Penticton RCMP search for missing woman last seen near Warren Ave West

25-year-old Iesha Blomquist was reported missing to Penticton RCMP on June 30

Public shows support for alcohol in outdoor spaces: City of Penticton

City council will vote on whether to continue allowing public consumption, on Tuesday, July 7

Interior Health will not expand Police and Crisis Team

Southeast Division Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli asked IH to expand the program

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Seymour Arm landslide interrupts drinking water to 500 people

The July 3 slide damaged a water system and a logging road.

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

White-throated sparrows have changed their tune, B.C. study unveils

Study marks an unprecedented development scientists say has caused them to sit up and take note

Okanagan Realtors donate big to North Westside fire department

Two Kelowna-area Realtors made a generous donation to the North Westside Fire… Continue reading

Most Read