WHEREAS regional library systems exist to ensure Albertans have equitable access to library services regardless of geographic location;AND WHEREAS Alberta’s public libraries have significantly increased their cost-effectiveness through joining The Alberta Library; AND WHEREAS the additional services now provided through libraries have added significantly to library costs; AND WHEREAS the Alberta Public Library Electronic Network (APLEN) has been a major support to technology in municipal and regional libraries and has a significant coordinating role for sharing public library resources;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the Government of Alberta to raise its per capita financial support for our municipal public libraries to $5.78, and for regional library systems to $4.59, based on the current population figures as determined by the most recent census, and that sustainability funding for the Alberta Public Library Electronic Network (APLEN) be provided effective in 2001.
The cost of providing baseline service has increased with the increase in the cost of living despite significant cost-cutting and the development of provincial cooperative efforts. Public and regional libraries have assumed new responsibilities for providing electronic forms of information to the public. Through APLEN most public libraries have become public access sites for the Internet and serve as major access points for Alberta government information, particularly that information available only on the Internet.Public and regional libraries need an increase in per capita operating grants to reflect both the increase in the cost of living and to assist with their obligation to provide new forms of electronic information. Grants must be paid at current population figures.Library Cooperative EffortsLibraries in Alberta have developed new forms of cooperation and cost sharing in response to the need to do more with less. The Alberta Library is a voluntary consortium of public, regional, university and college libraries in Alberta. Through TAL, libraries have obtained consortia pricing for new services such as subscription databases and have developed the TAL card, which allows the library members to use any one of more than 260 libraries in Alberta. With the Alberta Public Library Electronic Network (APLEN), libraries are working to transform their work processes and develop more effective use of staff. We are asking the province to begin paying library operating grants based on the current official population each year at a per capita rate to reflect increases in the cost of living since 1992, plus an additional sum to reflect the higher costs of providing electronic information. For the proposed rates we have used the average of the increase in the GDP and CPI (11.35% increase) plus $1.00 per capita to assist with the provision of electronic information.APLEN has become a major source of support and coordination for connecting Alberta’s public libraries over the past three years. One- time funding expires in March 2001 and will leave a major gap in support for municipal and regional libraries unless sustainability funds are made available.
The AAMDC has two resolutions currently in effect with respect to library funding.Resolution 9-99F, passed at the fall 1999 convention, calls for increases in funding to $4.50 per capita for municipal libraries and $3.54 per capita for regional libraries, based on current population figures.Resolution 28-96F, passed at the fall 1996 convention, calls for start-up funding for an electronic library network.Resolution 33-97F, which called for library funding to be allocated on the basis of updated population figures, was defeated at the fall 1997 convention.