British Columbia Library Association

$20M in 2020: Public Library Funding

Many of you are aware that provincial funding for public libraries in British Columbia has not increased for the past decade. In preparation for the BC Government’s Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services Consultations for the Budget 2020, the BC Public Library Partners ***(BCLA, the BC Library Trustees Association, the Association of BC Public Library Directors, and the BC Libraries Cooperative) have prepared information to support any of you who are  interested in sending a letter to the Select Standing Committee asking that the government increase funding for public libraries in the next budget.

The more submissions that the Select Standing Committee receives in support of increased funding for public libraries, the stronger the impact of our collective voice. You can send a letter as a library supporter, as someone working in a library, as a library board, or as the designated representative of any another community group or organization.

As you prepare your submission please consider including the following points so that our collective message resonates with the provincial government and is part of amplifying the shared messages coming from our large community of public library directors, trustees, staff, and supporters.

  1. You can make a written, audio or video submission to the Select Standing Committee here.
    • If you want to make a written submission, here is a letter template that the BC Public Library Partners prepared and will send to the Select Standing Committee. Please feel free to use any part of it and to edit it to make it your own.
  1. When preparing your letter it is always helpful to include concrete examples of how your public library’s work and services align with this governments strategic objectives. You can do this from any perspective – as a community member, as a library staff person, as a citizen or as the designated representative of your library or Board. Government’s objectives include:
    • Making life more affordable,
    • Providing better public services
    • Building a strong sustainable economy
    • Furthering Reconciliation and the TRC Calls to Action
  2. It would be helpful and effective to reference “$20M in 2020” to identify your submission as part of the larger library community working together to increase provincial funding for public libraries.There was a soft launch of the “$20M in 2020” advocacy campaign at the BC Library Conference in May. The objective of the campaign is to raise awareness of the fact that funding from the provincial government for public libraries has been stagnant at $14M for the past ten years and that the $14M was after a 25% reduction in funding in fiscal year 2009/2010. The $20M referred to in the campaign represents the restoration of the 25% cut and the cost of living increases from the time of the cut. The total increase to the public libraries budget is only $6M. This is a very modest request especially when one considers that in the 2019 the Ministry of Education (this is the Ministry that allocates funding for public libraries) saw an increase of over $500M to its budget, a budget that was already at $6 Billion. So please consider referencing “$20M in 2020” as a way to let the Select Standing Committee and Provincial Government know that public libraries are important to us and to the communities we serve.
  1. Once you have your submission ready, please consider sharing and sending copies of it to:

If you share a copy of your letter or submission with the BC Public Library Partners they will compile your material and use it for future meetings with Government representatives and with other community members who might help us influence decisions that affect library funding.

You can also add your voice to the $20M in 2020 campaign and follow the Partners’ Twitter and Instagram feeds throughout the summer for Partner updates and ways for you to be part of this campaign.

Thank you for all that you do every day as library staff and as library supporters.

Best, Annette