Tuesday, December 5, 2017

December 4, 2017 Council Meeting Notes: Mayor Schaffer not running again, plus the future of the library system.

At last night’s Langley City council meeting, Mayor Ted Schaffer announced that he will not be running in the upcoming 2018 municipal election due to health reasons. The Langley Time posted an article which goes into more detail about Mayor Schaffer decision. The next municipal election will be held on Saturday, October 20, 2018.

Langley City council heard from Nancy Gomerich who is the Director of Finance, and Scott Hargrove who is the CEO of the Fraser Valley Regional Library (FVRL). Langley City is a member of FVRL which is the largest library system in BC, serving a population of 706,000 people in 2015. Member municipalities fund the library system. In 2015, Langley City residents contributed $1.5 million for library services through property tax.

As shown in the following picture, major library systems had local government contributions that were on-average $43 per capita in 2015. The FVRL per capita local government contribution was $32. For comparison, the Vancouver Public Library, which is the second largest system in BC, had a per capita contribution from the City of Vancouver of $62 in 2015.

FVRL total costs in 2015, compared to other large library systems in BC. Select image to enlarge.

Gomerich and Hargrove presented the FVRL’s budget for 2018 which will see Langley City’s contribution to the system increase by at least 1.35%. This will cover increases in staffing costs, and investments in IT and materials such as books. They also presented their 2018 to 2023 strategic plan called “Opening Minds, Enabling Dreams.

When most people think of the library, they think of books. Hargrove explained that books are certainly an important part of the library, but the library’s core mandate isn’t to loan books, it is to enabling literacy. He noted that there are different types of literacy including reading, comprehension, creativity, critical thinking, digital, and cultural as examples. Hargrove stated that the library’s role is to enable this boarder definition of literacy, and highlighted their program called “The Playground at FVRL” which is a makerspace.

The FVRL Playground has programmable robots, green screens, virtual reality, musical instruments, and KEVA planks that enable different types of literacy which is critical for people to thrive in the 21st century.

With this in mind, the FVRL’s new strategic plan has five major elements:

  1. INSPIRATION: Our staff, combined with our technologies and resources, encourage strong economic, creative and social growth in our communities, families and individuals.
  2. WELCOMING PLACE: Fraser Valley Regional Library is an essential destination connecting people living, working or studying in our communities. We provide a fun, friendly environment focused on knowledge, creativity and experiences that transform lives.
  3. PARTNERSHIPS: Our libraries are integral to sparking the potential of individuals and their communities through meaningful connections and relationships.
  4. ENGAGING STAFF: Our staff continue to grow their expertise and confidence needed to meet evolving customer needs.
  5. KNOW US. LOVE US: We are known and celebrated for providing a broad and dynamic range of services. Our customers appreciate the friendly and personalized Fraser Valley Regional Library experience. Those who know us, love us.

The full plan has been made available online.

Someone people think that libraries are for a time long past, but that isn't true. Modern libraries are vibrant places. I am pleased to see that our library system is forward thinking.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting about other items that were covered at last night’s council meeting.

No comments: