File photo by ADVOCATE STAFF Shelley Ross, CEO of Red Deer Public Library, said MLAs know the importance of Alberta’s libraries.

Libraries keep hope funding will be maintained

Wait continues for provincial budget

Libraries aren’t taking a delay in receiving their full annual funding from the province as a sign they’ll get less money.

Recently, central Alberta libraries received 50 per cent of their annual government funding.

“The fact that we’re currently getting 50 per cent of the money is an indication, I think, that the provincial government still recognizes the importance of libraries and is willing to provide us some funding, even though they don’t have a budget,” said Ron Sheppard, director of the Parkland Regional Library System based in Lacombe.

“There is no cut in provincial funding that we’re aware of. We’re anticipating stable funding, even if we’re not getting an increase.

“But we won’t know until the budget is actually pronounced.”

He said Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu has made it clear in tweets that recent funding should not be interpreted as a cut.

When first elected in 2015, the NDP initially provided 75 per cent of the grant, then increased the grant as the Progressive Conservatives had promised.

Sheppard said the government realizes libraries, particularly small rural ones, depend on those operating grants.

“Should there be a cut in funding from the government of Alberta, it will have its biggest impact on rural Alberta, where it would be quite serious for many small libraries,” Sheppard said.

Carley Binder, manager at Blackfalds Public Library, said her facility would not be impacted to the same extent as smaller libraries, if cuts were made.

“We’re fortunate. We’re supported by the town, so we don’t rely on it to pay utility bills. For us, it would be like one staffing position and being open extra hours during the week,” Binder said.

But for libraries in places such as Elnora or Delburne, grants are important to keep the buildings open and provide access to internet service in rural areas where it’s unreliable.

Shelley Ross, CEO of Red Deer Public Library, agreed there’s no reason to believe a funding cut is on the way.

“I think our MLAs use the library, and their families use the library, and they know the value of the library to the community and the way that the library levels the playing field for everybody.

“It’s the one way the province can put money out across the whole province and know that it’s not just one group that benefits, but the whole community. Each community, even in the very smallest of places,” Ross said.

Provincial funding accounts for 10 per cent of Red Deer library’s budget, which is not a trivial amount.

Most of the library’s budget comes from the City of Red Deer, she said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Red Deer Public Library

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

Just Posted

Only 13 new COVID-19 cases confirmed by Alberta gov’t Saturday

There’s currently only two active cases in province’s central zone

Food Truck Fridays to start new Drive and Dash events next week

Events will be held in Westerner Park parking lot Thursday evenings, Friday afternoons all June

Alberta gov’t to expand mental health supports

The Government of Alberta says a $21.6-million investment will expand online resources… Continue reading

City of Red Deer encouraged residents to participate in Food Bank Ninja Challenge

The City of Red Deer is encouraging residents to participate in a… Continue reading

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

Protesters rally in Toronto against anti-black, Indigenous racism

TORONTO — Thousands of people are taking part in a rally on… Continue reading

Another COVID-19 case reported in northern New Brunswick on Saturday

CAMPBELLTON, N.B. — People from a city in northern New Brunswick lined… Continue reading

B.C. sees second day in a row with no COVID-19 deaths as schools ready to reopen

VICTORIA — British Columbia announced no new deaths from COVID-19 for the… Continue reading

UN sets pandemic voting rules for Canada’s Security Council campaign

OTTAWA — The United Nations has confirmed that the election for non-permanent… Continue reading

Police watchdog investigating death of Richmond man

RICHMOND, B.C. — British Columbia’s police watchdog has been called in to… Continue reading

COVID-19 cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a B.C. mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Tooting the importance of whistling

OK, so someone who tattles on another person is a whistleblower, and… Continue reading

Police see increase in speedy drivers on quieter streets during pandemic

Police across the country say they’ve been dealing with more complaints about loud, fast vehicles

Most Read