Larger library space sought

The Summerland branch of the Okanagan Regional Library continues to serve many users, despite operating out of an undersized facility.

The Summerland branch of the Okanagan Regional Library continues to serve many library users, despite operating out of a badly undersized facility.

“The facility is about half the size it should be,” Stephanie Hall, executive director of the library system told municipal council on Monday evening.

The same sentiment was echoed by a delegation from the Friends of the Summerland Library.

“Our library is jam-packed,” said Dianne Hildebrand. “It’s time for a new space. We know you agree.”

Chris Lewis, another member of Friends of the Summerland Library, said there were 70,203 visits to the library in 2013.

The Summerland branch has 6,381 registered users, or 56 per cent of Summerland’s population.

While the number of books circulated has dropped slightly, circulation of electronic materials increased significantly. As a result, the total use of the library is on the increase, Hall said.

Library programs also remained busy with a total attendance of 3,717 people.

The summer reading club alone saw 898 people attending, an increase of 25 per cent.

Despite the busy activity level at the library, the facility is severely cramped. The library is 316 square metres, but the recommended size for a branch in a community like Summerland is 699 square metres.

Members of municipal council agree that the facility is too small. Efforts have been ongoing to find a new facility for the library.

Coun. Bruce Hallquist said the crowded library has been mentioned many times in the past decade, but added that the present council and the library board are closer to a solution than in the past.

Coun. Martin Van Alphen said the facility is needed in Summerland.

“The library is one of the cultural hubs of our community,” he said.