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Library board meeting: Hours reduced at central and branches, Riley Park closes?

November 25th, 2009 · 8 Comments

This just in from the communications staff at the library, who apparently don’t sleep.


(Vancouver, British Columbia) – Vancouver Public Library Board of Trustees this evening proposed to reduce operating hours at some Library branches, reduce staffing, collections and administrative budgets and to further discuss with City Council a $166,000 shortfall to balance the Library’s 2010 Operating Budget.

Trustees directed Management to identify a further $166,000 reduction in the budget that could result in the closure of the Riley Park Branch in January,18 months earlier than anticipated, or mean reductions in other areas. The Library Board will discuss these options with the City.

The Library’s proposed 2010 Operating Budget will now be submitted to City Council which will consider the interim 2010 City budget on December 1 and finalize the budget on December 18. Council may make changes to the Library budget at that time.

The reductions were necessary to address the impact of City of Vancouver budgetary pressures which resulted in a funding gap to the Library of $1.354 million as well as a $220,000 reduction in provincial grants. In 2010, the planned Library Operating Budget allocation from the City will increase by $800,000, however, this increase will not address all anticipated cost pressures.

To meet the proposed 2010 Operating Budget allocation, the Library Board voted to:

  • Reduce branch operating hours at up to 14 branches for a savings of $349,000 and directed Management to identify an additional $166,000 reduction in the budget that could result in the closure of the Riley Park Branch or reductions in other areas.
  • Close the Central Library an additional three hours per week and reduce the related staffing budgets for savings of $419,000.
  • Reduce the Technical Services budget by $360,000.
  • Reduce the Collections budget by $180,000.

·         Reduce the budget for Administrative areas by $100,000.

“The Library Board deeply regrets having to recommend these cuts in service,” said Board Chair Joan Andersen. “We appreciate all the support from the public for Library services and we are hopeful that the City will find a way to restore part of the Library budget when their deliberations are completed.”

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  • jimmy olson

    Ah the legacy of the Olympics continues.

  • This is really sad news..

  • gmgw

    Strangely enough, VPL management seems reluctant to target any of the 14 new exempt positions created in the wake of the 2007 strike– which action saw each newly-elevated manager given a wage increase averaging around 25% (taking the pay rate of some of those freshly exempt branch and department heads close to $100,000 per annum).

    I’m sure it’s just a silly oversight.

  • Glissando Remmy

    The Thought of the Day
    “I just finished watching the History Channel’s SF documentary “Life after people”. Chilling. Afterwards I stared at the wall for half an hour. Next I’ll watch a comedy. It’s called “Life after politicians”. I heard it’s uplifting.”

    It’s late, I have no words other than “I’m with Jimmy on this one!”

    We are playing S&M games in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • spartikus

    But…but…we’re going to have a really wicked light show over English Bay that can be seen…from SPACE!

  • Your Pal

    The Library could save a lot of money if it didn’t have its own marketing, accounting and HR departments. All city services should have these functions handled one department in the city. We could get rid of a lot of redundancy and focus on service delivery if this happened. But no, of course the government in its infinite wisdom has decided to forgo logic in its decision making processes.

    Seriously, the Library’s HR department is useless seeing as individual branches of the Library system provide their own staffing and all other city services make their hires through a city wide HR department. I should know, I used to work for the City and always questioned this practice. Of course each department would need people who have Parks Board, Library, Police, Fire etc focuses but individual departments having these services? Ludicrous.

  • Charles Powne

    And you wonder why VPL checks out only half the number of items as MCL (Multnomah County Library — Portland, in other words) does each year. Similar number of branches, similar population base, but 10 million items in Vancouver vs. 20 million in Portland. If they cut enough hours they can do away with the budget for buying books because no one will be able to get in to borrow anything.

  • gmgw

    YourPal said:
    “Seriously, the Library’s HR department is useless seeing as individual branches of the Library system provide their own staffing…. ”

    Huh?? According to my informants, VPL’s central HR department does all external hiring for the system (or did until the hiring freeze Ballem imposed last February), and coordinates internal hiring and transfer of personnel. Keep in mind that about 60% of VPL’s workforce is part-time and auxiliary. Branches and departments call in auxiliaries on an as-needed basis (if they have sufficient funding allocations for same), but anyone who wants a job in the VPL system, be it FT. PT, or auxiliary, has to get hired through the HR department. Once you get hired, then you go where you’re needed.

    A VPL worker is not considered part-time until she/he is given a certain number of regular hours per week in a given location. The non-full-time staff has been and is being hit much harder by the funding cuts than the FT staff. Because of the increasing shortage of available non-full-time hours, many departments at VPL are running on the bare minimum staffing levels, whether clerks or librarians, needed to keep going. For some time now anyone who leaves is simply not replaced. In many departments one clerical now does work that until relatively recently was done by up to five people. Staff burnout is at stratospheric levels, and morale has plunged below the sub-zero mark. The inevitable deterioration of service to the public is increasingly becoming apparent to library users. And it’s going to get worse.