Library seeks increased financial support from Town of Hay River

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The Hay River Library Committee is looking for more financial support from the Town of Hay River.

Christine Gyapay is the head librarian at NWT Centennial Library in Hay River. Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Christine Gyapay is the head librarian at NWT Centennial Library in Hay River.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

Anne Boden, the chairperson of the committee, appeared before council on Nov. 26 to request an increase in the annual funding to operate NWT Centennial Library in the town’s upcoming budget.

“We have asked for an increase from $165,000 to $179,000 for a yearly budget,” said Boden.

She noted the town’s financial support has been static at $165,000 for the past three years.

“There have been no increases,” she said.

Boden explained to council that part of the increase would be used to raise wages for staff and to increase the hours of additional staff to meet the needs of a very busy library.

The requested increase also includes more for collection development.

“We’re spending about $20,000 a year on collection development, not including what the GNWT contributes for book rotations,” said Boden. “And all of our periodical collection is provided by Library Services.”

She said the biggest increase in the library’s budget is for collection development.

“It’s just that the cost of books and DVDs has gone through the roof,” she noted. “This is more of an inflation budget than we want more good stuff budget.”

Boden said the increase would also be used in a number of other ways.

“So with your continued support we will continue to provide the level of service that the public has come to expect from the Hay River public library,” she said.

Since the 1990s, the library has operated in a partnership among the non-profit Hay River Library Committee, the Town of Hay River and the GNWT.

The GNWT funds about $117,000 worth of in-kind contributions, including for the building and its maintenance, and the salary of the head librarian.

The town supports hiring of staff and day-to-day operations.

The Hay River Library Committee also does its own fundraising, seeks support from programs and grants, and generates money through things like its annual Book Appeal, room rentals, book sales, donations, photocopying and fees for programs.

The councillors were supportive of the library, but like previous councils also had questions about its fundraising efforts.

Coun. Keith Dohey asked if there was a way to cut into the extra $14,000 with a few projects.

Coun. Linda Duford asked if the library had considered a small user fee for access to its computers.

“We’ve talked about it, but in most libraries it is free,” said Boden.

The Hay River Television Society also appeared before council on Nov. 26 to request its annual support from the town.

“We’re looking for $59,000 this year to operate,” said Gary Hoffman, the society’s president. “It hasn’t changed for about five years. We don’t anticipate it will.”

The society has provided a free, over-the-air television service to Hay River since the 1980s.