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All public libraries in B.C. getting funding boost from province

In an effort to help modernize and expand services in public libraries, the B.C. government is investing $45 million.

That money will be split amongst all 71 public libraries across the province.

“We love our local public libraries. They are a vital part of vibrant communities, delivering services we rely on every day,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs Anne Kang in a release.

“From offering regular access to the internet, to delivering programs for families, newcomers, job seekers and seniors, this funding will go a long way to ensure libraries are helping people stay connected, access information and continue their lifelong learning.”

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This extra funding will be on top of the annual operating funding libraries already receive.

Vancouver Island Regional Library board of trustees chair Erin Hemmens says this will help them transition out of the pandemic and avoid cancelling any services.

Hemmens adds VIRL’s 8.1 per cent levy increase for communities in its 2023 budget created more financial challenges, and the funding will help lift that burden.

“That comes at a time when people are really feeling pinched and so we recognize that is difficult, but cutting programming has not been an option for this board,” said Hemmens.

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It will be up to individual libraries to use the money as they see fit, with Hemmens saying it could be used for health and safety, but the board will decide.

“This is an amazing day for the Vancouver Island Regional Library System and the B.C. public library sector overall,” said Hemmens. “$45 million is an influx that is desperately needed and will translate into children signing songs in communities.”

Libraries should be receiving the money by March 31.

With Files from Josiah Spyker, MyEastKootenayNow

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