NDP MLAs Russell and Sandhu say people in the Okanagan and Boundary regions will see improvements from new funding for local libraries

May 17, 2022 at 2:25 pm  Politics, Provincial

VERNON – New Democrat MLAs Roly Russell and Harwinder Sandhu say that people will see improvements at their local public libraries, including expanded digital collections and internet access, upgraded spaces and programming, and improved air circulation thanks to new COVID-19 relief and recovery funding for libraries.

“As a parent, I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who works to make our libraries vibrant and accessible places for kids to learn,” said Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee.  “Libraries are true pillars in our communities. Last summer my local library even stepped in to provide a safe and cooler place for people during the heat dome. I am glad that this funding will allow libraries in Vernon and across the Okanagan to improve the services that we all enjoy.”

Public libraries in the Okanagan and Boundary regions are receiving funding as follows:

  • Okanagan Regional Library – $172,407.12
  • Grand Forks and District Public Library – $35,057.95
  • Greenwood Public Library – $26,417.32
  • Midway Public Library – $25,261.99

“Local libraries are vital to rural communities – they serve as gathering places, as skills-building centres, and help us build strong communities,” said Roly Russell, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen. “In conversations with leaders from our rural libraries, they made it clear they need some more support given everything they do and have been through. This funding will help support our libraries to adapt and keep providing the vital community service people want and need.”

A total of $8 million in COVID-19 relief and recovery funding is being distributed between 71 public libraries, six library federations and three library service partners in B.C.

Libraries can use this new funding to enhance services for people and fill gaps created by the pandemic. This may include adapting their physical spaces, delivering computer and virtual technology training, and developing programs that help people build deeper social and community connections.

This investment builds on a one-time $3 million investment in public libraries in 2020, to expand digital services and computer access during the pandemic. Government also provides $14 million in annual funding toward operating costs at B.C.’s public libraries.

Learn More: https://news.gov.bc.ca/26818

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