Part of BCLA’s mission is to advocate for libraries and library workers, and your membership makes it possible for us to do this work. The BC Public Library Partners (made up of representatives from BCLA, BC Libraries Coop, BCLTA, and ABCPLD) presented to the BC Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services on June 7, asking the province to permanently increase annual funding for public libraries to $23 million in 2023, and commit to inflationary adjustments every year.
We’re happy to share that the Select Standing Committee’s Report on the 2023 Budget Consultation is out, and it includes the following recommendation on page 31: “Increase the annual operating grant for public libraries, linked to inflation, and provide targeted financial support for libraries in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities to increase access in these areas.”

This recommendation does not mean the increase will be provided, as the Select Standing Committee does not set the budget and has made similar recommendations in past years, but it is a good sign that an increase is supported, and we were pleased to see that they included the need for ongoing increases linked to inflation as that was not included in their previous recommendations.

Below are a few relevant quotes from the report:

  • From the Executive Summary, page 7: “With respect to public libraries, Committee Members recognize their role as community hubs and centres for information, literacy, and creativity and support increased funding with particular attention to libraries in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities.”
  • The PUBLIC LIBRARIES subsection, pages 28-9 of the Arts, Libraries, and Sport section of the report,: “Several library boards and associations recommended increasing the funding of public libraries to $23 million dollars annually with ongoing incremental increases. These libraries and organizations noted the importance of libraries as community hubs and referenced increasing costs of operating, staffing, and providing physical and digital collections.”
  • From the Conclusion, page 30 of the Arts, Libraries, and Sport section of the report: “Committee Members recognized the changing role of public libraries as community hubs and centres for literacy, creativity, diversity, and innovation. Further, they highlighted the important role libraries played during the pandemic and heat dome and discussed how libraries have been flexible in addressing community needs. Members agreed that libraries must be supported with adequate funding as they serve as equalizers – providing services, resources, connectivity, and entertainment to those who may not have access otherwise, especially in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities.”

The Partners will be continuing our advocacy at the UBCM Convention in September, doing a morning presentation on libraries at the convention and holding an open house at the Whistler Public Library.

Thank you for the work you do in libraries throughout BC every day – it is noticed and appreciated in your communities, and it the impact you have is the reason our advocacy is being well received.