The Silver Creek Library will have its operating hours cut back starting this week. -Image credit: Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer

Silver Creek Library hours cut back

Rural library branch loses seven operating hours a week

Starting this week, it’s going to be more difficult for Silver Creek residents to get access to their library.

The Okanagan Regional Library made the decision last month to cut the operating hours of the rural branch from 15 to eight.

This means the library will no longer be open on Wednesday, and will be open one hour less on Tuesday and Thursday.

Effective Jan. 23, the new Tuesday and Thursday hours are 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

One of the options being considered for the library was a complete closure, as the library system’s research indicated many residents use other libraries, especially the Salmon Arm branch.

Related links: Silver Creek residents upset by proposed cuts to library hours

“But the residents made it clear that they would prefer a reduction in open hours to a closure, citing some residents who are unable to get out to other locations, and the library’s role as a community hub,” says a statement from Michal Utko, communications manager for the ORL when asked about the possibility in November.

The ORL told Silver Creek residents the reduction in the Silver Creek operating hours would bring library service levels in line with similar sized ORL communities such as Oyama and Cherryville. It will also help bring costs closer to tax revenues, creating a more stable funding basis for the branch going forward.

Utko said part of the problem rests with the provincial government.

“Provincial funding for public libraries has been frozen for more than a decade, which amounts to more than a 20 per cent cut when accounting for inflation.”

Some residents are continuing to protest the reduction by emailing their concerns to Paul Squires, the B.C. Assistant Deputy Minister, whose portfolio includes public libraries, in hopes of getting special funding for the library, given that it operates in a rural area.

There has been no word on whether any new funding could be made available.

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