Thousands of citizens from Victoria, Oak Bay, Saanich, Esquimalt, Langford, Metchosin, Highlands, View Royal, Colwood, and Central Saanich have responded enthusiastically to the staff-organized postcard campaign that began on Valentine’s Day.
Greater Victoria Public Library patrons have been sending out postcards to their municipal councillors asking them to increase the library’s budget to keep pace with the thriving demand for library services.
Thousands of postcards have been delivered or mailed to municipal halls, many with personal comments about how important the library is to their community.
The budget will be discussed at the next regular meeting of the Greater Victoria Public Library Board, which takes place at 12 p.m., February 28, in the meeting room at the Central Branch on Broughton Street in Victoria. With the exception of the discussion of confidential matters, the meeting is open to the public.
Staff and library patrons will be paying close attention to the outcome of the meeting. “Years of inadequate funding have led to real issues for staff at GVPL,” says Ed Seedhouse, president of CUPE local 410. The local represents library workers across ten municipalities.
“We’re hoping that the public response to this campaign will help Library Board members recognize that we shouldn’t be victims of our own success; that we need strong funding to be able to operate properly.”
Though circulation usage has risen almost 65% in the last ten years, the total library budget, adjusted for inflation, has increased only 33% over the same period, and staffing has increased even less. Despite this, municipal councillors throughout the Capital Regional District have been talking about keeping budget increases to a minimum—potentially to levels requiring cuts to services.
“More than half of all Greater Victoria citizens are active members of the library, and we want to make sure city councillors know how valued library services are in every municipality,” adds Seedhouse.
With the extremely positive public response, “People are clearly making their voices heard,” says Seedhouse. “Now we just have to hope that the councillors are listening.”
Contact: Ed Seedhouse, president, Local 410, 250-415-0704
Download the poster, postcard and leaflet at www.cupe.bc.ca