Library asks increased funding for renovations and new community outreach position

John M. Cuelenaere Public LIbrary. -- Herald file photo.

The Prince Albert Public Library would like to see a funding increase of just over three per cent to help pay for upgrades to the building’s basement, along with salary increases for staff and increased expenses for staff benefit premiums.

They also want to create a new Community Outreach Librarian position, which would allow for more hours of service at the Bernice Sayese Centre location, more programs offsite, and more help with web and social media publicity.  The request was part of a budget submission made during Monday’s council meeting.

“Inflation went up a lot. We’re getting hammered on exchange rates and purchases of materials,” Library Director Alex Juorio said during the meeting.

“It’s outside of our control to maintain capacity,” Juorio added.

The organization would like to upgrade the lower floor where the theatre and meeting rooms along with public washrooms are located.

Both the theatre and meeting rooms earn the library money, but years of wear, especially on the seats in the theatre, haven’t gone unnoticed.

They have managed to streamline some services to increase efficiency, such as moving some locally hosted internet servers offsite. This means maintenance of those servers is no longer a library responsibility.

“All of these things reduce local expenses for IT costs and maintenance,” said Juorio.

The library internet connection was changed to CommunityNet so they no longer have to pay for regular Sasktel internet services.

Physical visits to the library have increased by 1,000 visits per month since the re-instatement of public internet computers, in person programs and film events.

“The library is a popular service in the community and its well-used by citizens,” Juorio said.

Patron registrations have also increased by one percent. Juorio said that’s a remarkable change, given the average 10 per cent drop in the province as a whole.

They have also added seating for study space with more to be added by the end of the year.

Council will consider the library’s submission in their upcoming budget discussions.