WHEREAS regional library systems exist to ensure Albertans have equitable access to library services; and WHEREAS public libraries are essential to our future and support lifelong learning, development of our youth, and promote healthy communities; and WHEREAS libraries offer access to everyone, especially people that may not be able to access materials in any other way; and WHEREAS libraries provide opportunities to access costly resource text and materials as well as access to information technology through providing computers that many cannot afford otherwise; and WHEREAS libraries are inadequately funded to meet operating costs, provide competitive wages, keep materials current and to provide equal access for all Albertans; and WHEREAS the per capita rate of provincial grant funding for regional library systems has been frozen since 2002; and WHEREAS the per capita rate of municipal funding is increasing to offset the substantial rise in library operating costs;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties vigorously lobby the provincial government to increase funding on a per capita basis for municipal libraries.
Over the past years a number of AAMDC resolutions have been carried urging the provincial government to increase its per capita funding to municipal libraries.The per capita amount has remained fixed since 2002 while library operating costs continue to escalate. This has forced municipalities to increase its share of library funding to offset these rising costs. Further, rural populations have not kept pace with urban populations relative to population growth resulting in increasing pressures on rural municipalities for funding rural library systems.
Resolution 11-04F – Provincial Library Funding (STATUS: ACTIVE) requests an increase in provincial funding support for libraries. The provincial support for libraries in 2005/2006 is $19.9 million based on a maximum municipal operating grant of $4.29 per capita. Despite a series of resolutions dealing with library funding in recent years, provincial operational funding for libraries has not kept pace with inflation, leaving many rural libraries with operational shortfalls. The AAMDC will continue to advocate on behalf of its members for increased provincial funding for libraries.Resolution 7-04F – Library Book Rate (STATUS: ACTIVE) urges the federal government to continue the library book rate and extend it to all library materials. The AAMDC continues to bring forward the need for adequate library resources and support in our meetings with both provincial and federal government officials.
The Government of Albertas 2009 budget includes a 39 per cent increase in public library funding beginning in 2009. This budget allocates $32 million to help municipalities fund public library services – a $9 million increase over last year. Of this increase, $7 million will go directly to local library boards and regional library systems to deliver basic library services and respond to community needs. The remaining $2 million increase will be invested in technology, helping further the new vision as well as promoting collaboration and innovation within the library network. The decision to implement this funding was due in part to feedback heard through extensive MLA-led consultations with library stakeholders across the province in September and October 2008.