British Columbia Library Association

Report from the Select Standing Committee on Finance

Thank you to all those who prepared and delivered a letter to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services this past June. Your letters, urging additional support for public libraries, helped shape the content of the Committee’s report to government. Thank you as well to the BC Public Library Partners for designing the letter writing campaign and for presenting “in-person” reports to the Committee.

The Select Standing Committee’s report has now been published and volume one, that mentions libraries, can be found here.

Beginning on page 22 of is a chapter titled “Arts, Culture and Libraries” that is worth a quick read.

The chapter concludes:

Committee Members recognized the clear value libraries provide as evidenced by challenges stemming from the closure of libraries during the pandemic, especially in connecting people to the internet and providing essential services and resources, particularly in rural communities. Members recognized that funding for libraries has remained stagnant for several years and recommended increasing operational funding, as well as supporting training, and the delivery of library services in Indigenous and rural communities. They further recommended the promotion of reconciliation programs in libraries.

…and recommends…

  1. Provide sustained and reliable annual increases to the provincial operating grant for public libraries, including funding for training and professional development, and support the delivery of library services in Indigenous and rural communities.
  2. Encourage collaboration between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation to promote reconciliation programs in libraries.

While this endorsement and recommendation do not translate directly to increased funding, such statements by the multi-party Select Standing Committee demonstrate that the advocacy work done by the BC Public Library Partners and by the library community is being heard, considered and is at least theoretically supported by government.

Thanks to all of you who supported the campaign presenting a case for increased funding for public libraries to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services.

Annette DeFaveri
Executive Director
British Columbia Library Association