A spokesperson for the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) predicts that Sidney will remain part of that organization.
“We are in conversation with the Town of Sidney to address their concerns and are confident that the Sidney/North Saanich branch will remain part of VIRL’s ongoing success and growth now and for many years to come,” said David Carson, VIRL’s director of corporate communications and strategic initiatives in an emailed statement to the Peninsula News Review.
The statement did not address specific concerns identified by Sidney over the performance and cost of the system.
The public earlier this month heard demands that Sidney depart VIRL for the Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) system because the Sidney/North Saanich branch suffers from a lack of selection, notwithstanding a recent re-fit worth $2 million.
“The bíggest problem is their lack of selection of books (new and old),” said Robyn Quaintance, a Sidney resident, whose letter sparked the discussion. “Over the years, I have suggested titles, never to have been bought. When I go with my friend to the Brentwood library, who has already changed systems to the GVPL, I am amazed at the selection and the variety of contemporary books.”
While Sidney council did not directly address the question of whether Sidney should switch library systems, councillors nonetheless asked VIRL for additional data.
“Why is GVPL out-performing VIRL by so much, considering that the tax levy, the funding for them, is somewhat comparable?” asked Coun. Peter Wainwright after citing a set of general statistics that compared the two systems. “VIRL has a lot of rural branches, and honestly I don’t care how well Tahsis [on northern Vancouver Island] is performing,” he said later. “What I care about is the value our community is getting for the amount we pay relative to what GVPL might provide.”
The 2019 budget shows a budget of just over $880,000 for the library.