Message from the BC Public Library Partners
September 6, 2021
I’m happy to share that the BC Public Library Partners (made up of representatives from the BC Libraries Coop, BCLA, BCLTA, and ABCPLD) presented to the BC Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services on Sept 1, asking the province to increase funding for public libraries to $22 million in 2022.
As you know, provincial funding has been frozen at $14 million for over a decade, even while libraries have continued to evolve and do more every year. Representatives from each of the Partners had an opportunity to speak about the important work being done by libraries, library workers, and library trustees. We shared the vital role that libraries play in their communities, the difficulty of meeting the needs of those communities with stagnant funding, and the additional pressures resulting from the pandemic. We made the case that $22 million is the amount of funding public libraries would have been receiving in 2022 if funding hadn’t been cut and then frozen.
There were several questions and comments from the Committee members, and all those who spoke were positive and supportive. A full transcript of the session is available online for your reference, with the BC Public Library Partners’ section starting 2/3 of the way down.
The Partners will also be advocating for increased provincial funding to public libraries at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) convention from September 14-17.
Thank you to all the staff who work every day to make public libraries a vibrant and welcoming presence in your communities every day – your work is the best possible advocacy for libraries.
2021 Call to Action
The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services is holding public consultations on the 2022 provincial budget in August and September.
The BC Public Library Partners (the Partners) have submitted an application to present to the Committee and will be sharing messages about the value of public libraries and the advocacy ask for $22 million in 2022.
The Partners and BCLTA encourage you to participate in this consultation process and lend your voice to highlight the important role that public libraries play in your community.
You can participate in a few ways:
- Fill out the online survey by September 30.
- Send in comments in writing or in audio/video format by September 30.
The consultation closes on September 30th.
The Partners have prepared key messages if you’d like to incorporate these in your comments These messages are important but it’s your personal stories that will really bring this alive.
Key Messages for 2021 Budget Consultations (for the 2022 provincial budget)
Please email Jerrilyn Kirk, the BCLTA ED, if you have any questions.
On June 17, 2020 the BC Public Library Partners, represented by Babs Kelly (BCLTA), Elizabeth Tracy (ABCPLD), Annette DeFaveri (BCLA) and Kevin Milsip (BCLC) made presentations to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services. Committee Chair MLA Bob D’Eith commented on the passion of the presentations and the importance of public libraries across BC.
Audio and written transcripts of the presentations are available on this page.
The Partners’ presentation in the audio recording begins at 11:20.
The Partners’ presentation is recorded in the written minutes as Budget Consultation Presentations Panel 4 – Libraries.
Huge thanks to all the BC public library boards and supporters who made submissions to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services regarding provincial funding for public libraries
The BC Public Library Partner response to the 2020 Budget
Distributed February 25, 2020
On February 18th, Minister Carole James delivered the 2020 Provincial budget. By all accounts, it is a “safe budget” as there were no major surprises and few increased funding commitments beyond items previously signaled by the Province. Increased funding was announced for public schools (k-12), health care and a number of capital projects. Public libraries are not receiving any less funding in the upcoming budget, which is welcome news.
However, given that provincial funding was capped at $14 million per year for the past decade, the BC Public Library Partners are disappointed that the funding will not be increased to $20 million in 2020. Funding for libraries for the coming fiscal year is anticipated to remain at last year’s level of $14 million.
Our collective work to close the provincial funding gap for BC public libraries raised the profile of the important role libraries play in our communities. Thank you to the municipal and local government representatives who carried the $20M in 2020 message to Minister Fleming at the Union of BC Municipalities Convention in September 2019.
The BC Public Library Partners are committed to working with library supporters around BC to continue to advocate to the provincial government for an increase to operational funding for public libraries and to ensure equity of services in our communities. Investing in BC public libraries is investing in BC communities and a better life for everyone.
The BC Public Library Partners work together to advocate for all BC public libraries. When we meet with Minister Fleming and other government representatives over the coming months, we will continue to ask for 3 key items:
- For library grant levels to be restored along with an increase for inflation covering the past 10 years
- For reliable and sustainable annual increases to library funding
- For the Minister to champion the unique role public libraries play in their communities to other Ministries and to facilitate inter-ministerial conversations to support the work of public libraries.
Working together with all of you is how we will make our message and our impact felt by the Provincial Government. The BC Public Library Partners thank their members for their support in advocating for BC’s public libraries over the past year. We will continue to keep you updated as we work for public libraries.
The BC Public Library Partners
- BC Library Trustees Association (BCLTA)
- British Columbia Library Association (BCLA)
- Association of BC Public Library Directors (ABCPLD)
- BC Libraries Cooperative (BCLC)
Join us in continuing our funding campaign as we head into the 2021 budget consultations, meetings with Ministers and MLAs throughout the province, and continue to build a network of support with local and regional governments.
Continue your influence on provincial government budget discussions. Keep BC public libraries on top of mind for MLAs and Ministers. Tell them that investing in BC public libraries is investing in BC communities and a better life for everyone.
We recommend you send your advocacy letters to:
- Your local MLA
- Minister Rob Fleming: EDUC.Minister@gov.bc.ca
- Finance Minister Carole James: FIN.Minister@gov.bc.ca
- CC the BC Public Library Partners
The following will help you prepare your message:
BCLTA June Bulletin: “Elevator Speech”, submitted by Jim Jenkinson, Trustee, Invermere and District Public Library
BC Public Libraries Summit Value and Investment Report (BC Public Libraries Summit, May 11, 2019)
Please work with your library board chair and library director when preparing your message and contact your associations for more information, buttons, and updates. We are all working together to support a cohesive shared message that will amplify our concerns and our ask.
BC Public Library Partners with Minister Fleming, May 10th, 2019
(L-R) Mike Gagel, BCLTA, Sharon Herbert, BC Libraries Cooperative, Chris Middlemas, BC Library Association, Annette DeFaveri, BC Library Association, Elizabeth Tracy, Association of BC Public Library Directors, Minister Fleming, Shirley Lew, BC Library Association, Kevin Millsip, BC Libraries Cooperative, and Scott Hargrove, Association of BC Public Library Directors.