The Castlegar and District Public Library’s director Kimberly Partanen (right) and board chair Katrina Vermette (left) appeared before city council recently. (Betsy Kline/Castlegar News)

Castlegar Library membership growing

More than 83,000 people visited the library last year borrowing 122,247 items.

The Castlegar and District Public Library’s director Kimberly Partanen and board chair Katrina Vermette appeared before city council recently to update them on how things are going at the library.

They also asked council to consider a two per cent funding increase in each of the next three years.

The library gets 52 per cent of its funding from the city, 14 per cent from Area J, 13 per cent from Area I 12 per cent from the province and the rest from grants and fundraising. The grant for libraries from the province has not increased since 2004.

Membership at the library continues to grow with a total of 9,887 members, up by 505.

The library offered 376 programs last year with 3,567 people attending a program.

More than 83,000 people visited the library last year borrowing 122,247 items and accessing public internet 13,346 times.

The library also provides outreach services to Castleview Care Centre, Castle Wood Village, Talarico Place and to homebound clients. For children, outreach activities include Robson Strong Start, Blueberry Strong Start, Silly Monkeys Daycare and Kootenay Family Place.

The library’s collection numbers 63,000 items.

Twenty volunteers work a combined total of 62 hours each week.

Partanen has just completed a full year as the library’s director.

“I think it went very well,” she said. “The library is very, very busy, both in the library and outside of the library [through online and digital services].

“I am lucky to have stepped into something that was very well established.”

The library has long-term plans for a basement renovation but nothing is really happening at this point due to a lack of funding.

“We are working on strategies moving forward to apply for grants and move the renovation forward,” explained Partanen. “We do have the architectural drawings and a chosen plan for the space, it is all a matter of funding and finding the right grants and applying for those grants.”

Last year the Columbia Basin Trust provided funding for a fundraising advisor to offer advice on how to improve the library’s fundraising strategy.

“Through that, our building committee was revamped and we have been talking about launching a capital campaign for the basement renovation,” added Partanen.

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