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Library board needs direction

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Hopefully many have heard that Winnipeg’s Carnegie libraries (St. John’s and Cornish) are turning 100 years old in 2015.  

During our latest Winnipeg Public Library Board (WPLB) meeting, we discussed putting a history book together on Winnipeg’s library system.  

Over the years, librarians have become professionals the Winnipeg library system depends on for delivery of excellent services.  These professionals know that communication with their customers is essential for day-to-day operations.

Currently, the City of Winnipeg is examining the governance structure of the Winnipeg Public Library System on the recommendation of the city auditor. The WPLB, and five library advisory committees (LAC) in each of Winnipeg’s five communities, is a structure that has been in place since amalgamation in 1972.  

While recruiting volunteers for the WPLB has been successful, the recruitment of volunteers for the LACs has been very difficult, with the Lord Selkirk-West Kildonan LAC having only two out of six positions filled with concerned library users.

My opinion is the WPLB is essential for the library system, but I believe the LACs should be removed from the governance picture. Members of the WPLB spend time trying to work with LACs in the face of trying to achieve other outreach efforts.  

As a member, I would like to spend more time providing overall direction to the system to meet users’ needs in library services.  All of our libraries are reaching out into their communities to stay relevant to library users.  

Many programs are assisting Winnipeg residents to experience culture, gain literacy skills, and obtain an education through research. The facilities are under a new plan of renewal, and a number of research efforts are underway to enhance the services. Aside from having enough money to purchase materials, the Winnipeg Public Library System is doing fine.

Unless I hear otherwise, I will push to have our volunteer efforts from the WPLB focused on essential topics for a vibrant library system — not trying to find volunteers for a committee there is no interest for in the community.  

If you have an opinion about the LACs, you can contact my office at 204-986-5188 to let me know what you think.

Ross Eadie is the city councillor for Mynarski.

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