COVID-19 minimizes Okanagan Regional Library budget increase

Library adapts to pandemic fiscal disruptions

The Okanagan Regional Library (ORL) is financially weathering the economic storm caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ORL board has received a recommendation from the board finance committee to include a .75 per cent funding increase for its 2021 budget, which works out to an actual decrease in the per capita cost to operate the ORL’s library system, the 16th largest in Canada with branches extending from Osoyoos across the southern Interior to Golden.

“In the past, we would typically look for a rate of inflation increase in our budget but our library board recognizes that people are feeling challenged right now so we needed to work to reduce our budget spending to what are seen as critical needs,” said Don Nettleton, chief executive officer of the ORL.

“We really are trying right now just to maintain what we have.”

Nettleton said the impact of COVID-19 has been felt by the ORL financially. The savings produced by library branch closures in March through to mid-May are balanced against the loss of revenue for that period and unexpected cost increase for cleaning and sanitation supplies and janitorial services, and additional costs for maintaining virtual services.

Since mid-May, the ORL has moved from virtual services to curbside pickup, and now the browse and borrow service model.

READ MORE: COVID-19 forces library to make changes

READ MORE: ORL joins fight against e-book restrictions

This model allows people to enter the library and browse the physical book collection and check them out via self-checkout stations.

Nettleton said in a typical year, the ORL will see a service circulation of about 2.3 million in circulation, but this year it will drop to about 1.8 million.

“Still the biggest part of that circulation figure is people taking out books, but the virtual services we offer continue to show growth, up to 50 per cent each year,” he said.

Nettleton said the ORL’s reopening steps have posed an internal challenge because of the volume and different needs of the various branches.

“Every site and branch had to have a risk assessment done, and our own procedures and policies had to be figured out as the needs of our downtown Kelowna branch and smaller branches in other communities were different.

“The geography was another challenge as moving books and materials around to different branches is a big part of what we do. That all stopped with the branch closures so it was a huge effort on the part of our staff to get that going again.”

With virtual services, Nettleton said some makerspaces such as the Westside Learning Centre will be reopened by the end of September. Similar facilities also exist in Kelowna and Golden.

Makerspaces are a place to find audio and video recording, 3D printing, coding, robotics, electronics and material cutting services offered by ORL.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP responded to a single-vehicle collision on Highway 1 east of Salmon Arm early Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (File photo)
Salmon Arm man killed in collision on Highway 1

RCMP say slippery road conditions contributing factor behind collision

Salmon Arm RCMP responded to a seven-vehicle chain reaction collision early Monday morning, Oct. 26. (File photo)
One person injured in seven-vehicle chain-reaction collision in Salmon Arm

Snow packed to ice, speed contributing factors behind collisions

Armstrong’s Christyna Whieldon is $1M richer after scoring a winning Lotto 6/49 ticket from the general store. (BCLC contributed)
Armstrong mom $1M richer after candy run

Christyna Whieldon bought a winning ticket from Armstrong’s general store

Streets are slick in Salmon Arm this morning, Oct. 26, with drivers struggling to stay on the roads in multiple locations. (File photo)
Vehicles slip and slide in Salmon Arm Monday morning as snow falls

Snow forecast to stop by noon, with temperatures rising Tuesday, Oct. 27

Sicamous resident Paige Mounce says she has found numerous sick mice and rodents on her property. She wants the district to get started with a non-chemical treatment program so that other animals that might eat the poisoned rodents do not get sick. (Paige Mounce-Facebook)
Numerous rat complaints in Sicamous prompt look at pest control options

Resident warns chemical treatment dangerous to pets, livestock, wildlife

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health sees 31 new cases of COVID-19 over record-breaking weekend

Eighty-six cases remain active and one person is hospitalized with the virus

Jordan Naterer, 25, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. He planned a hike in the Manning Park area, and has not been seen since. Photo Facebook.
Parents not giving up, after official search for Manning Park hiker suspended again

‘We are determined, but eventually the money is going to run out.’

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media file)
Penticton RCMP cleared of wrongdoing after man seriously injured in custody

B.C.’s police watchdog found no evidence of harm caused by police in Sept. 21 incident

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

Most Read