Library patrons unhappy with hours
Banff library-goers continue to rate the Banff Public Library very high overall – but they remain concerned about cutbacks in hours of operation.
The library’s patron satisfaction survey indicates patrons are highly satisfied with the knowledge and helpfulness of staff, the collection of books, magazine and CDs, as well as information services and the library’s facilities.
But according to a survey completed by 96 residents, they are not as happy with the hours of operation after they were cutback earlier this year due to financial hardships.
Library officials say the overall satisfaction rating was 4.6 out of five for the library, which is consistently ranked the No. 1 service in the Banff townsite by residents.
“The one anomaly was the library’s hours, which scored 3.5,” said Ross Glenfield, chair of the library’s board of directors.
“Despite the 12 per cent growth in visitation we are seeing, there’s a certain segment of the population that is still disenfranchised with our reduced hours.”
The library decided to shave eight and a half hours off its 61-hour work week earlier this year. Doors now shut two hours earlier on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, closing at 6 p.m. instead of 8 p.m., and Sunday’s hours went from 6 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The library’s board of directors had asked the Town of Banff for a $429,000 grant as part of 2012 budget deliberations, but ended up getting $404,500 instead.
The municipality also no longer covers all of the janitorial costs for the library building, and by 2013, the library will be on the hook for the total cleaning bill.
Glenfield said the board has met with members of council and is working on alternative revenue possibilities, including more fundraising efforts and seeking additional grants, in the hope of re-establishing hours.
“The reduced hours affect people’s ability to access the library at a convenient time to them,” he said. “We’re trying to re-establish evening hours.”
The reduction in evening hours meant the library could still continue with children’s programming weekday mornings, but not adult programming, such as film series or book readings, in the evenings.
Glenfield said the board made a conscious decision to close in the evenings, which typically sees lighter traffic than during the daytime hours, noting the morning is busy with popular children’s and literary programs.
“We’ve chosen to impact the least amount of people,” he said. “We would like to re-establish some of the evening hours, while trying to maintain morning programs.”
The Town of Banff’s grant funding over the years includes $349,800 in each of 2007, 2008 and 2009, $363,400 in 2010 , $371,200 in 2011 and $404,500 in 2012. In the three-year budget, $412,500 is budgeted for 2013.
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