Victoria, B.C. — Yesterday, Tuesday, October 25, 2005 the Greater Victoria Library Board voted to hold the line - budget line that is - or so it seemed.
But Ed Seedhouse, president of the CUPE Local 410, expressed concern about the “deteriorating situation in Capital area libraries”. Local 410 represents workers in municipal libraries throughout the Greater Victoria area.
“While public demand for library services has steadily increased by more than 7% a year recently, funding just hasn’t kept pace,” said Seedhouse. “The number of libraries and people served cannot continue to grow without additional funding to operate them,” he added.
“Staff work harder and harder each year to keep up with the demand, but we can’t keep this up forever with the same number of staff,” he warned. “Staff moral is sinking because the Library Board isn’t fighting for the revenue needed to provide for the increased demand. Eventually, people will burn out.”
Yesterday’s provisional budget provides no significant needed increase in critical areas. According to Seedhouse, “there is actually a freeze on hiring.”
Members of Local 410 have decided to use the opportunity of the upcoming municipal elections on November 19 to bring public attention to the need for increased municipal support of libraries.
“Leaflets, buttons, and questions to candidates aimed at ensuring that people in the Greater Victoria area “Vote Library!” will be the beginning of our campaign to encourage people to help us so that our library service can improve, not deteriorate,“ said Seedhouse.
“It’s time that people running for office were called to account for the continuing lack of support for Library Service in the Greater Victoria area.”
For more information on the impact of the recent Library Board Budget contact: