Parkland Regional Library has passed its 2020 budget with a 30 cent increase per capita.
The increase will provide member libraries additional services and content with a small portion also funding PRL operations.
“We have to face inflationary increases too whether it’s electricity, or we want to give staff wages a slight increase, or it could be the price of gasoline, it doesn’t so that 30 cents is really covering those two things,” said Ron Sheppard, director of Parkland Regional Library (PRL).
The budgeting process at PRL is extensive starting at the executive committee before being sent to be approved by the board. Once the board approves of the budget it is sent out to the municipalities to be approved.
Eckville Town Council approved the budget during the regular Nov. 12 meeting.
The 30 cent per capita increase equates to $9,943.65 from the Town of Eckville, which is a $348.90 increase from 2019.
As a member of a regional library system 2/3 of the municipalities representing 2/3 of the population have to approve of the budget in order for it to be passed.
PRL has 64 member municipalities and anyone with a library card in a member community can borrow from about 350 different libraries across Alberta including public libraries, special libraries, government libraries and academic libraries.
The Eckville Municipal Library will benefit from the increase through new e-content and PRL will continue to purchase computers for the library.
PRL also will not have to reduce the materials allotment for the library.
Aside from municipal funds, a little of 45 per cent of PRL’s budget comes from the provincial government.
“We haven’t really seen an increase in provincial funding since 2017,” explained Sheppard, adding the library’s funding was not cut in this year’s provincial budget.
“It’s been made very clear we can’t anticipate any increases so really the increases we’re going to get will come from municipalities…,” said Sheppard. “The leveling off of provincial funding we can’t really expand services much more beyond what we’ve already done.”
Sheppard says they at PRL are pleased the government didn’t reduce library funding.
“Despite the fact that we could always more money we’re still grateful to the government that they did not reduce our funding,” continued Sheppard.
Sheppard added he and PRL are content with the 2020 budget.