By Justin Seward
The Susan Andersen Memorial Library can spell a sigh of relief after learning that their provincial funding will be still be flowing in after the UCP government released its first budget on Oct. 24.
The library will receive its normal $16,000 from the provincial government on top of local municipal funds which has lifted a lot of weight off the shoulders of the staff.
“It’s for operating costs,” said Kathryn Van Dorp, library manager.
“It’s a relief because we would like to think that we’re the helpers in the community. Libraries are certainly more than just books.”
Library staff talked about possible scenarios prior to the budget being released, but like most of the libraries it was a matter of waiting for the package to be released.
“It was probably a matter of cutting opening hours, which means services for the public,” said Van Dorp.
“We’re a public library. Our services are either free or very nominal. If we do courses or information, they’re free. You can’t really cut for something that is already free.”
The library is open two evenings a week and would have gone down to one night and maybe no weekends, she added.
She could not stress the importance enough of how important libraries are to rural communities.
“The library is the hub of the community,” said Van Dorp.
“ We are the resource centre for what else is in the community. Can you help me with the forms? Can we bring our kids to the library for early literacy? We’re so much more than that one little focus. To take a hit on your community library even in hours and services, it would be noticed in the rural communities.”
Other funding comes from the Town of Bow Island, a rural library grant because of being within the County of Forty Mile that is split with Foremost library which is $8,000 each for both libraries.