Notes from the Board

This month’s Notes from the Board column covers Funding Library Services.

Funding Library Services

In the language of regional governments in BC, the GDPL, Sechelt public library and many other community organizations on the Coast are considered local “services”. Among other things, this means we agree to provide library services to the community we serve and, in return, the Sunshine Coast Regional District agrees to provide annual funding. Today, as it has since at least 1994, the SCRD funds roughly 90% of GDPL’s operating budget. For its part, the provincial government provides just under 10%.

The Financial Relationship Between GDPL and Government

GDPL is currently housed in a facility that was built by the SCRD in 1995-96. The regional district owns the building and leases the land it sits on from the Town of Gibsons. As the building’s owner, the SCRD also maintains the facility (as per their lease with the library that defines each party’s responsibilities).

Every year the SCRD determines operational funding for the library, with monies allocated through property taxes paid to the SCRD. Taxpayers in Areas D (Roberts Creek), E (Elphinstone) and F (Howe Sound) contribute in amounts set out in a bylaw for each area. Area D ratepayers’ portion of their taxes is allocated to the Roberts Creek Reading Room and the District of Sechelt Library as well as to our library. There is a Finance and Service Agreement between the GDPL and the SCRD which sets out the terms and conditions for submission of our annual budget and receipt of our operating funds.

As noted above, the provincial government provides less than ten percent of public library funding in BC.  In fact, the province’s contribution has remained essentially unchanged since 2009. We’re happy to report that a concerted province-wide advocacy effort is underway to change that.

To learn more about how GDPL is funded, see GDPL Board Manual

More information about advocacy efforts to increase provincial library funding is available from the British Columbia Library Trustees Association


January Issue of Notes from the Board discusses Library Governance: 


Public libraries fall under provincial jurisdiction. The Library Act sets up three different governance structures for libraries: municipal, regional or an association.

Municipal libraries are financed as a department within the structure of the local municipality, but are governed by a library board that has one municipal councillor appointed to the board by council along with between 5 and 13 other appointees to the Board. They are not elected or appointed by the library members. The Vancouver Public Library is a municipal library.

Regional libraries are established when two or more local municipalities and one or more regional districts enter into an agreement to establish a regional library district. These libraries are managed by a Regional Library District Board. An example is the Vancouver Island Regional Library. The only members of the Board are a representative of each municipality and regional district that is a party to the agreement.

Associations are those public libraries that were incorporated by community members before, and which provided library service up to, August 26, 1994. GDPL is an association, as is the Sechelt library. The Library Act took over in 1994 as the legal authority on how the library association is to be governed. Library associations are governed by a Board of Trustees that is elected by the members of the association.

The Library Act, in Part 4 and in an Appendix, sets out the general framework for who can be a member of the GDPL, who and how many people can be on the Board of Trustees and the procedures for holding elections to the Board and for the running of meetings.  Library trustees then adapt the general framework in bylaws that work for this association.

The Library Act and our bylaws can be found in the Governance Policies section of our main Board page.

In the next column, we’ll  explore how our library association gets its funding as well as our relationship with the Town of Gibsons and the SCRD.