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November 23rd, 2016 ~ Vol. 85 No. 50
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CNP Library a democratic place to meet and read
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Archive photo
Crowsnest Pass Library
LISA SYGUTEK
Pass Herald Reporter
On Thursday, Nov. 10, Penny Warris, Chairperson of the Library Board, met with council to discuss funding and a project the library has been a part of over the past year.

Warris updated council on staffing at the library, which includes Diane deLauw, Senior Librarian, Kiana Miskulin and Judy Bradley, Library Assistants.

The board is comprised of 6 community members and Councillor Glavin. Warris noted that Councillor Glavin has been an asset to the board with her unique perspective of having worked at the library and now her with her experience as a councillor.

The library board presently has two new applicants for membership positions as well as one returning member, thus making the board fully functional.

A Friends of the Crowsnest Community Library Society has been operating for one year now. The purpose of this society is to conduct fundraising activities, which promote literacy and support the initiatives, programs and services of the library. This group held a successful raffle this summer for a quilt that was donated by the “The Rag Bags”. This group is one of many non-profit groups that meet regularly at the library.
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Community collaboration is a hallmark of the library with strong support from the board to promote awareness in the community. Such groups include Boys and Girls Club, Kids Kollege, Parent Link, Brighter Futures, 40 Developmental Assets Group, Writers Group, Artists Showings, CNP Literacy Foundation, CNP Adult Literacy, CNP Early Childhood Developmental Coalition, Compassionate Friends, York Creek Lodge and other community groups.

Several meeting rooms in the library are consistently used for everything from tutoring to sewing video conferencing to Lego building nights. Several non-profit community group make use of the meeting space and often there is something going on in every space in the building.

The building itself is 37 years old and required ongoing maintenance. The board is unique in that they operate from a municipally owned building, however the staff are not municipal employees.

In 2016 the board applied and received a grant from the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and SW Alberta for $5000. The funds were used to make an impressive landscaping project. The board felt the grounds work makes the library more inviting to visitors and patrons.

Since the library went to free membership 2015 membership numbers have increased by 400 to almost 1500 members. Visits, which mean people actually walking through the door, are up 20% once again over last year with approximately 22,000 visits per year.
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Program participants have increased over 4500 people that have at least taken part in at least one of the many programs offered that are offered in collaboration with the library.

Over the past several years there has been a reserve fund built up in the board bank account, mostly due to the timing that the grants are received and when they are actually paid out. Rather than request additional funds to continue the level of service the board has committed to, the board requested a lower amount and planned to draw from banked reserves to fund the difference. For 2016 the board asked council for $97,000 and received $77,000. In addition to using reserve funds for the lower requested amount the board had to use an additional $27,000 of reserves to cover expenses.

For the upcoming year the board is expecting the same scenario and are requesting $77,000 once again with the understanding that this will deplete most of their reserve fund by the end of the year.

In 2012 the board requested $112,500 and has been using reserve funding to carry them through an over 30% reduction in funding over the past four year period. The board informed council that their reserves will be depleted after this fiscal year and as a result their 2018 funding request will come in at $125,000.

CAO O’Brien asked Warris if there is a strong volunteer base at the library. Warris responded that most of the work done at the library is through its paid employees. There are two volunteers who do programs and three who help shelve books. O’Brien then asked how much the board makes on room rentals, upon which Warris explained that non-profit groups use the meeting rooms at no cost. Warris also noted that there are no program fees for non-profit groups as well.

Councillor Cart-wright ended the discussion, “thanks for doing a fantastic job, you certainly are a hub for the community”.

Council took the information presented in consideration for the 2017 budget.
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November 23rd ~ Vol. 85 No. 50
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