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A patron searches for a book at the Central Library located in downtown Regina. Photo by Samanda Brace

 

It may not be much, but property taxes will be going up by an average of $3.50 to support libraries. The Regina Public Library is preparing for the city’s budget by proposing a mill rate increase of two per cent.

 

 

Although the proposal won’t be passed until Feb. 24 along with the final decision of the budget, the Regina Public Library gave its presentation on Jan. 15. Darryl Lucke, Regina Public Library chair, said he felt it went well. “We have a lot of support on City Council. They support what we do for the citizens and are avid library supporters,” said Lucke.

 

Mayor Michael Fougere said he believes two per cent is a reasonable request by the library board. “It’s a status quo budget in many ways, to provide services, outreach to the community and branch renewal,” he said.

 

Fougere said he attends the library, going three to four times a year. He’s not the only one. According to Lucke, 75 per cent of households in Regina use a Regina's libraries adding up to over one million visitors each year.

   

The library plans on spending a total of $19.2 million this year.

 

Some of the highlights from the budget include participating in the creation of the North Central Shared Facility. Along with Scott Collegiate and the Albert Scott Community Centre, the Albert branch will be rebuilt within one building. The library plans on spending $2.5 million toward the project and another $1.88 million will be paid over the following three years.

 

In addition, people may find the George Bothwell branch in a new location. The library located within the Southland mall will have its $200,000 year lease reviewed. 

 

The collections budget has remained flat for many years but may go up by 3.25 per cent. The Regina Public Library plans to add more books, CDs and DVDs. Libraries will also offer more digital content, including e-books, magazine subscriptions, audiobooks and videos.

 

The budget also includes plans for more self-service machines in libraries across Regina. These machines are already incorporated into the Sherwood Village and George Bothwell branches. They help reduce lineups, strain on staff  and allow for more privacy, according to Library board.

 

The Glen Elm branch is planning a redesign and adding a literacy cafe which will help

individuals with language proficiency skills and those learning English as a second language.

 

The board is changing the way it is fundraising, too. There will be no lottery this year. Lucke said the lottery has been getting less popular. The board plans on hiring a development manager to develop a fundraising strategy.

 

The library board noted that they are in a transitional phase with the Central Library. It will be holding public consultations for how it should move forward with the design of the building.

 

Lucke said he hopes it will become “a piece that people see downtown and want to go to, that they are drawn to and also providing a great service for people.”