May 17th, 2024

Library report among SPC presentations today


By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on May 16, 2024.

Herald photo by Al Beeber The Lethbridge Public Library board will present its 2023 annual report this afternoon to the Safety and Social Standing Policy committee of Lethbridge city council.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Two presentations and a submission are on the agenda for today’s meeting of the Safety and Social Standing Policy committee of Lethbridge city council.

The SPC meets at 1:30 p.m. in council chambers. It consists of councillors Jenn Schmidt-Rempel, John Middleton-Hope and Ryan Parker along with acting mayor Mark Campbell.

The first presentation by board chair Craig Brown and Lethbridge Public Library CEO will be on the library’s annual report.

The report will highlight the library’s activities and accomplishments last year.

The highlights, according to the report, include Diversity, Equity and Inclusion learning modules that the board began rolling out for trustees “to facilitate their understanding of why DEI work is important, and what DEI means to the board in relation to the work they do. The training works towards building the board’s understanding of how DEI impacts operations and what needs to happen to make DEI work at LPL,” says the report.

The board also approved the library’s facilities master plan last September and presented it to city council in November.

The plan presents a strategic direction for facilities and services for the next 25 years “to create a landmark public library in our community. The plan provides a path to address the growing need of Library services in Lethbridge based on extensive community and stakeholder engagement, best practices and public library standards.”

In a report to the community, available on the agenda for today’s meeting, Brown states that “2023 was a year of growth for Lethbridge Public Library. Our first full year of in-person programming since before the pandemic, we grew our programs and service offerings, we grew our neighbourhood branch The Crossings, and we spent much of the year planning for the future growth of the library.”

In 2023, there were 1,246,326 item circulations from the library’s collections and 23,244 memberships which was a 12 per cent increase from 2022. There were 199,515 downloads of e-content.

Between the main branch, Crossings and the Bookmobile, there were 302,723 visits while 37,418 people attended library programming. With 26,134 items added, there are now 232,915 items in the library collection.

The Bookmobile had an increase of circulated items from 70,250 to 74,639 in 2023.

The book bin delivery program was expanded to 67 bins, three times the total since the program’s inception in 2020.

“The book bin delivery program began as a creative solution during the pandemic, allowing us to deliver books for all reading levels to schools without the need to visit in-person. It was so popular that the program continued after restrictions were relaxed. As a result, community stops have expanded and have seen an increase in new library card sign up at the Bookmobile,” says the report.

The report notes that 2023 was the first full calendar year with a crisis intervention worker at the main branch. This worker, says the report, provided about 2,800 referrals to external organizations across about 1,600 one-on-one inter actions.

The second presentation will be made by Community Social Development general manager Andrew Malcolm and Takara Motz, Operations manager of CSD on Community Wellbeing and Safety Strategy updates and the funding disbursement process.

Their report states that “our community is changing, and our strategies must evolve to meet new challenges and diverse community needs. A comprehensive update of the Community Wellbeing and Safety Strategy (CWSS) has been completed and will serve as an important guiding document in the advancement of community wellbeing and safety. As a guiding document, the CWSS identifies community needs, gaps in service provision, priority populations, and other strategic actions.”

CWSS is utilized by the City to inform funding disbursements from both the federal Reaching Home and provincial Family and Community Support funding sources.

It adds that City administration has explored options for the next funding distribution process which needs to occur between June and October to allow for service provider agreements to be finalized before Dec. 31.

The report says the previous Request for Supplier Qualifications process was challenging and administration’s preferred approach will be a Call for Proposals model for allocating funds.

Hunter Heggie, chair of the Downtown Lawlessness Task Force, will give the SPC an update on its activities.

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