Penticton & South Okanagan News
Options explored for library
A possible change in location for the Oliver library has generated some concern in the South Okanagan community.
The worries started after an advertisement was placed in the Oliver Chronicle that the Okanagan Regional Library, ORL, was looking for rental space.
"The ad struck some fear in the community, but we've been assured it's not going away, but they are looking at other options," said Mayor Ron Hovanes.
In 2013, the ORL Board commissioned a study comparing branch costs to tax revenue received in each community, and it was found the Oliver branch was costing more than the taxes received from this area, according to communications manager Michele Rule.
As a result, several operating cost adjustment options are being explored , among them the current location which is larger than board standards for the population it serves and therefore costs more than the library can afford to pay.
The ORL is now looking for expressions of interest to see what other slightly smaller and less expensive building options are available in Oliver, around 4.500 square feet, when the library lease comes up this year.
Assurance has also been provided by ORL CEO Stephanie Hall that the plan for 2014 will not call for layoffs in Oliver.
"We are going to see what we can do through attrition and other means," she said. "We have a great staff and we don't want them having to worry because of rumours in the community. We are going to involve unions and staff in the process."
According to Hovanes, the town of Oliver puts $170,000 into the library and partnered with the rural area puts in a total of $250,000.
So ultimately he wants to be assured at the end of the day, the town is receiving the best possible service for their money.
"We do not want to see the library service diminished at all in the community," he said.
The matter was also addressed at the recent Oliver town council meeting.
One council member wanted a letter to go to the ORL to be included in decision making, but the majority of council felt the regional library will do the right thing when it comes to this matter, said Hovanes.
Rule said the ORL understands the library is a busy branch and very well loved.
"We haven't made any decisions," she said. "We are waiting to hear from people and could stay where we are."
People with suitable space, questions or suggestions are asked to send them to [email protected] before April 30.
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