The Salmon Arm branch of the Okanagan Regional Library excelled at providing programs in 2019. (File photo)

Thousands of people bring questions to Salmon Arm library in 2019

Number of inquiries tops reference transactions in other branches

If you like to make use of the Salmon Arm library, you’re not alone.

The local branch is particularly outstanding in two areas, city council heard Jan. 13.

Head librarian Kristy Smith reported that the Salmon Arm branch of the Okanagan Regional Library is tops in terms of interacting with patrons.

“There were 36,000 reference transactions at the Salmon Arm branch during 2019, which was the highest number of any branch in the overall system,” said Smith. “So we field a lot of questions coming through our doors from the surrounding communities and Salmon Arm.”

In addition to serving Salmon Arm, Smith described the branch as the hub for North and South Shuswap, Enderby and Sicamous.

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The other service where statistics are outstanding is in programming, she reported.

In 2018, 114 adult programs were offered with 889 people participating. Last year attendance tripled, she said, with more than 3,000 adults attending 276 programs.

Smith said this year the goal of the branch is to continue to spread its presence and services outside of the library walls. Inside the branch, providing inclusive multigenerational programming with a focus on arts and culture will continue to be of prime importance.

She also reported that budget cuts have hit the branch hard, with staff losses as well as reduced hours of service. She said the staffing decrease combined with an increased work load has put a lot of pressure on staff who are mentally and physically fatigued at the end of the day.

“We are constantly trying to figure out creative ways of doing more with less,” Smith said, adding, “That’s not a complaint, that’s just the reality these days.”

Don Nettleton, chief executive officer of ORL, also provided a report to council on the regional system as a whole.

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