Submitted Programs like Story Time will most likely be cancelled or be minimally available as cutbacks happen at the Keremeos Library starting in February.

Cutbacks at Keremeos library expected to start

Library to only be open four days a week starting in February

  • Dec. 28, 2017 1:33 p.m.

Without support from Area G, the library will see a reduction of staffing hours and only be open four days a week starting February.

Stephanie Hall, executive director for the Okanagan Regional Library said she waited to announce the change of hours because regional politicians thought they might be able to come up with the money.

“Unfortunately it looks like we will be reducing the hours starting in February. There was some idea from the Village of Keremeos and Area B that they wanted to keep funding the library, but one regional district area is saying no. We’re keeping the hours the same in January to see if anything can be cobbled together but it doesn’t look like it will happen at this point,” she said.

Elef Christensen, director for Area G including Hedley, Olalla and Rural Keremeos, said a recent survey he did with his constituents pointed to them not wanting to pay more taxes to keep the library open.

“I sent a letter to both George (Area B) and Manfred (Keremeos) and Stephanie Hall… I can’t do anything. I had a survey and the constituency said no. No more funding. They get $55,000 out of Area G already. So, it’s not me. It’s the constituency that said no.”

The results of that survey have not been presented at the Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen or provided to the Review.

George Bush, Area B representative said he’s disappointed in Christensen’s decision not to continue funding the library for one more year.

“Of course I’m disappointed. I think our library is much more than just a library and I think a lot of people think that with the internet the library isn’t as important as it was but that’s wrong. It really acts as a hub for our communities and it’s important,” he said. “There’s no hard feelings. I don’t think it’s the director so much as I think he’s just following his job and doing what his constituents want.”

Bush said he did not poll his constituents on the matter, but hadn’t heard much in the way of resistance to the idea from the public at least in the Cawston area.

“We were only thinking of doing it because we have a new government and we were thinking of doing it for one more year and then the Province would hopefully come up with a solution,” he said.

Keremeos Mayor Manfred Bauer was committed to putting in the village’s portion of $16,000 needed to keep the library open five days a week and keep staffing hours.

He planned to continue discussions with the Province on developing a rural library fund to help the funding formula issue. Currently the library is taxed using a formula of property assessment and population. Rural areas that have lower valued properties and smaller populations collect less money to run the library.

Although details are continuing to be worked out it looks as if cutbacks are required, the new hours will be Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday closed, Tuesday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. for a total of 20 open hours.

Hall said programs will be cutback as a result of the loss of a five-hour per week staff position in February. Another 5.5 hours at the library will be lost through attrition in the future.

“Staff in the branch are, in my view, excellent, and very committed to the community. This is a difficult change for the ORL and for them, but we will work to provide the best library service we have within available funding,” she said.

The regional district started provided supplementary funding to the library in 2016 after the ORL underwent a strategic review and found that money from larger centres like Kelowna were being used to subsidize smaller centres including Keremeos, Princeton and other areas.

In 2016, after a public meeting in Keremeos the regional directors agreed to provide $25,000 in funding to keep the library functioning at the service level at the time. In 2017, regional directors reduced that funding to $16,311 split between Keremeos, Area B, and Area G which meant a reduction in staffing hours but not open hours.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sprott Shaw College's Lunch with Santa, pictured here at Penticton's 2019 Christmas Parade, will be held virtually this year on Dec. 5. (Western News File)
Construction activity in Summerland was busy in September, according to the latest Summerland building permit statistics. (File photo)
Summerland’s September building permits worth close to $8M

Statistics show increase over same month a year earlier

Rebecca Rudnisky, an X-ray technologist at the Summerland Health Centre, explains the operations of the new digital X-ray unit during a tour by members of the Summerland Health Care Auxiliary. (Contributed)
New x-ray machine in Summerland thanks to Health Care Auxiliary

Auxiliary raised over $800,000 to replace old equipment

(Kelowna Capital News)
B.C. Labour Board orders Peachland cannabis company to reinstate laid-off employees

The B.C. Labour Relations Board determined the employees were laid off due to their plan to unionize

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Kamloops this Week)
Grandfather accused of using grandchild to make child porn residing in Salmon Arm area

66-year-old’s offences alleged to have taken place in Kamloops

Vernon-Monashee candidate Harwinder Sandhu signs have been tampered with repeatedly leading up to the Oct. 24 election. (Contributed)
More Okanagan election signs vandalized

Vernon-Monashee NDP candidate Hardwinder Sandhu hit hard with repairs

Kristy Dyer Cartoon
Dyer: Wood pellets cause carbon emissions in more ways than one

Kristy Dyer has a background in art and physics and consulted for Silicon Valley

More and more electric cars are on the road, but one Chevy Bolt owner was shocked to see how much his BC Hydro bill skyrocketed once he started charging the vehicle. (Black Press file photo)
Lower Mainland man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after buying electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

The Anonymous YVR is an Instagram page that reviews restaurants and other establishments around B.C. based on how well they adhere to COVID-19 rules. (Instagram)
Anonymous Instagram page reviews COVID-19 safety measures at B.C. businesses

There are a number of public health orders various types of establishments must follow to slow virus’s spread

Penticton Fire Department chief Larry Watkinson advises against using fireworks on Halloween this year. (Jenna Cocullo / Black Press Media)
How to not get blown up or catch COVID-19 this Halloween in Penticton

Halloween amid a pandemic will present a handful of unique challenges

A portion of Pelmewash Parkway was closed briefly Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, while Lake Country Fire Department and RCMP responded to rescue an eight-month-old puppy stuck on a cliff. (District of Lake Country - Facebook)
Police and firefighters save Lake Country puppy from cliff

A portion of Pelmewash Parkway was closed briefly Wednesday as fire, RCMP responded to rescue mission

Most Read