BCLTA Governance Workbook: BC Public Library Types

Municipal Libraries

Municipal libraries are established under Part 2 of the Library Act. They are established following the passage of a municipal bylaw and are supported primarily by municipal revenues, as well as provincial grants. The board of a municipal library is made up of five to 13 members appointed by the mayor and council. The mayor or a delegated councillor serves a one-year, renewable term and other non-council members serve renewable, two-year terms for a maximum of eight years. Some municipal libraries enter into service agreement with other local governments or service areas to provide services to neighbouring communities.

Regional Library Districts

Regional libraries are established under Part 3 of the Library Act and may be formed following a written agreement or plebiscite. Regional library districts are supported by tax- revenues from each member local government based on a formula outlined in section 24 of the Library Act. The board of a regional library district is made up of one elected official from each constituent municipality council and/or regional district electoral area. There are currently three regional library systems: Fraser Valley Regional Library, Okanagan Regional Library, and Vancouver Island Regional Library.

Public Library Associations

Public library associations are governed by Part 4 of the Library Act. The Library Act stipulates that no new public library associations will be established. Membership in a public library association is open to all residents of the locality served by the library. The board

is made up of five to nine members of the association elected by the members to serve a one- or two-year term to a maximum of eight consecutive years. Municipal councils and/or regional district boards providing an operating grant may also appoint a representative to the  board. Some PLA’s enter into service agreements with local governments or service areas to provide libraries services and receive funding.

Integrated Public Library Systems

Integrated public library systems are governed by Part 6 of the Library Act, which also dictates that no new libraries of this type will be established. An integrated public library system is an organization of regional districts, or a regional district that provides and maintains a library system. The Cariboo Regional District Library and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District Library system are the only two integrated systems in BC.

Other Libraries in BC

Other types of libraries in BC include academic libraries (college and university), school libraries (K–12), and special libraries (government and corporate). While these libraries are not governed by the Library Act, they influence and inform public libraries through shared  association work, resources, advocacy, and professional development