Cash comes at busy time for libraries

Public libraries in Alberta have received a boost in funding from the provincial government at a time when the recession is causing many of them to see an increased demand for their services.

Public libraries in Alberta have received a boost in funding from the provincial government at a time when the recession is causing many of them to see an increased demand for their services.

The new funding from the province means close to $135,000 more for Red Deer Public Library and a little over $385,000 more in funding for Parkland Regional Library.

It’s part of $32 million in funding budgeted for public libraries across the province in 2009 — a $9-million increase or what amounts to a 39 per cent boost in funding over last year.

Red Deer Public Library still receives most of its funding from the City of Red Deer, with the municipality contributing close to $3 million a year.

The downturn has caused a huge spike in library use, according to Ron Sheppard, director of Parkland Regional Library.

The library system serves just under 200,000 people in Central Alberta, covering an area as far north as Camrose, south to Water Valley, east to Provost and west to Nordegg.

Sheppard said many people are going to libraries for entertainment, for programming and to use computers for job searches or to learn how to write up a resume.

“If (libraries are) used a lot in good times they’re used even more when the economy is not so good,” Sheppard said.

More people are dropping by Red Deer Public Library as well.

Dean Frey, director of Red Deer Public Library, said March was one of the library’s busiest months.

“I don’t know that Red Deer generally is doing that badly economically. We’ve certainly noticed more people in the library. It could be because of economic factors,” Frey said. He also believes the high-quality programming and marketing the library has been doing has helped to draw people in.

Frey said the money is extremely well timed because with the renovated Dawe branch set to open in the spring of 2010, the new money will enable the library to have the staffing and collection to meet those new needs. He said it will also allow them to keep up with the demand at the downtown branch.

Frey said the increase in usage can take a toll on the facilities and collections. He said library staff want to make sure the shelves aren’t empty and that there are enough public Internet stations available for customers.

Sheppard said Parkland Regional Library will use the money to enhance services by hiring extra staff, increasing the speed the cataloguing department gets items onto the shelves and offering more online and technology services with more options available directly from home online, such as databases, e-books, audio books.

Just Posted

Break-in at Red Deer business

Social media reports confirm a business break and enter in Red Deer… Continue reading

‘Rough waters’: Spill raises new questions about fast-growing N.L. oil industry

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador’s ambitious plans to dramatically expand… Continue reading

Trudeau rules out snap election call, national ballot slated for Oct. 21

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there will be no early… Continue reading

Canadian firm says it has found largest diamond ever unearthed in North America

YELLOWKNIFE — A Canadian mining firm says it has unearthed the largest… Continue reading

Man from Olds killed in collision near Sundre

A 39-year-old man from Olds was killed in a collision near Sundre… Continue reading

WATCH: More than 100 protest UN migration pact, carbon tax in Red Deer

Chants of “Trudeau must go” echoed through the streets of downtown Red… Continue reading

Man who demolished landmark house ordered to build replica

SAN FRANCISCO — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘Over my dead body’ will Mueller interview Trump

WASHINGTON — With a number of probes moving closer to the Oval… Continue reading

Quebecers criticize western oil but buying more gasoline, SUVs, bigger homes: report

MONTREAL — Quebec’s premier is quick to reject “dirty” oil from Western… Continue reading

Speaker Geoff Regan opens the door to his apartment in Parliament

OTTAWA — One of the best-kept secrets inside the main building on… Continue reading

Baloo the cat is back at home after being mistakenly shipped to Montreal

HALIFAX — Much to the relief of his loving family, Baloo the… Continue reading

‘It’s what we do’: Famous Newfoundlanders help replace veteran’s stolen guitar

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Two famous Newfoundlanders stepped in to help an… Continue reading

Quebec’s anti-corruption unit blames media coverage for recruiting troubles

MONTREAL — Seven years after it was created, Quebec’s anti-corruption unit is… Continue reading

Former PQ cabinet minister poised to become next Bloc Quebecois leader

MONTREAL — It appears likely that Yves-Francois Blanchet, a former Parti Quebecois… Continue reading

Most Read