Change to Library Funding Formula Overdue

To the patrons and friends of the CBRL network,

Recently the board of the Cape Breton Regional Library has been encouraged to review the discussion regarding the new central library. We have also been happy to see discussion around what steps are currently underway to ensure progress is, in fact, being made on this front. As chair of the CBRL board, with the endorsement of board members, it is imperative that we let the wider community know what role we have been playing in this process and where we stand on the need for a new central library.

We need a new central library, let there be no doubt about that. Serving the patrons and communities within the CBRM library network with top-notch service and programming has always been our number one priority and we see a new central library enhancing all aspects of services that are desperately needed in our communities. It is the responsibility of the CBRL board to ensure we are fiscally able to provide these services and programs to our communities and support the incredible staff who go above and beyond serving all people who depend on our libraries. We are fortunate to have a supportive landlord in the CBRM while we are able to focus on the day-to-day operations and programming within our library network.

North Sydney Library. (Source: Cape Breton Regional Library

North Sydney Library. (Source: Cape Breton Regional Library)

We have recently been part of the steering committee that meets on a weekly basis reviewing what operational needs a new library will require. This study is timely and necessary and we are grateful for the body of work that will be produced. This is an opportunity for us to truly understand what it will take to operate a larger space, offering improved service to patrons and retain our very important network of libraries throughout the CBRM and Victoria County.

This study also serves us in our ongoing battle to have the Province of Nova Scotia listen to our needs when it comes to the unfair library funding formula we are now locked into for five years. The previous formula, which we were locked into for almost 10 years, was recently reviewed and — lo and behold — our library network, which includes the second-largest municipality in the province, will be receiving the smallest increase in library operational funding in Nova Scotia. In an area where library technicians have been removed from elementary schools, child poverty rates are the highest in the province and people depend on the programs and services our libraries offer more than ever, our funding remains inadequate.

Our library services are essential to our communities and we must provide increasingly better service. We want to be able to do so in a building that you deserve and ensure our library network is stronger than ever. A new central library is needed, but we ask you also consider helping us in ensuring that we receive our fair share of operational funding so when the day comes to open the doors to the new central library we do so on solid financial footing.

Amanda McDougall
Chair – CBRL Board