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Library Services Future

The District would like to know what your thoughts are about present and future library services for North Saanich.

Currently, we are members of the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) Service and share a facility with Sidney. The VIRL has informed the Town of Sidney and the District of North Saanich that the current library is in need of improvement and that the two communities are underserved with library service according to the VIRL standards. With a combined population of about 22,267 as of 2011, the VIRL standards would see our area served by a library or libraries of about 13,360 square feet in size. The current Sidney/North Saanich branch is only 6,240 square feet in size leaving a shortfall of 8,907 square feet of library space.

The  VIRL have started discussions with the Town of Sidney and the District of North Saanich on options for renovation, replacement or new facilities. Mayor and Council would like to hear what the residents of North Saanich want for local library services.

Residents need to know how we pay for library services. As a member of the VIRL, North Saanich pays a per capita share towards the entire VIRL library system on Vancouver Island. We pay towards improvements, for example, in Courtenay and Courtenay residents would pay towards any improvements here in North Saanich. In other words, if there were to be a new library or renovated library in North Saanich/Sidney, it would be paid for by the entire membership of the VIRL. Building a new library in North Saanich or Sidney of approximately 6,000 square feet would result in an annual increase of about $22,242 to the North Saanich share of the library levy. The 2013 levy was $692,332. That would equal an increase of about $1.98 per person each year in North Saanich.

Even if there were no improvements to library service in North Saanich, our residents would still continue to pay increases required for improvements elsewhere in the VIRL service area.

Council is interested in knowing what you think about the following options:

 A new library located in North Saanich
 A new library located in Sidney
 A renovated library at the current location in Sidney
 No changes in service

We anticipate having community discussions on the library service in early 2015. In the meantime, the VIRL presentation to Council and the VIRL Consolidated Facilities Master Plan Companion Report and Facilities Policy are available for your review.