Chair responds to library comments

"...regarding the relocation of the Trail & District Public Library...."

I would like to respond to comments made by City of Trail CAO, David Perehudoff, regarding the relocation of the Trail & District Public Library (City closes book on library move to old Fields building, Trail Times May 1).

In addition to the issue of cost Council has outlined other areas of concern.

The use of BC One cards, which allows any resident of BC with a library card to access any library in BC, is a concern for council because people from other communities use our library, the heaviest users being 432 Rossland cardholders and 397 Beaver Valley cardholders.  These communities do not contribute to the Trail Library costs.  Mr. Perehudoff suggests that the Library should be a regional library but that study was done several years ago and discarded as unworkable.

The fact is that the Library is a Municipal Library and is funded by the citizens of Trail.  To bring BC One card usage into the argument against relocating the Library means that the citizens of Trail are being punished because people who do not live in Trail use the Library.  City Council is negotiating to purchase the Trail airport at a cost of $ 2 million and has in its capital budget a pedestrian footbridge at a cost of $3.5 million and the second access to the Regional Hospital at a cost of $ 2.2 million.  All of these capital costs and services are going to be used by non-Trail residents, paid for by Trail taxpayers, with ongoing costs, but that does not seem to be an issue for Council.  It is only an issue in discussion about the Library.

Mr. Perehudoff also brings up the subject of Warfield’s financial contribution to the Library.

Warfield residents have full library privileges.  The Library Board has met with the mayor and council of the Village of Warfield on two occasions to ask for an additional $ 9,000.00 per year towards the cost of the Library.  They currently pay less than any other municipality in the province of BC for library services.  They have refused to increase their contribution from what they were paying in 2009.

This is a political issue over which the Library Board has little control because the Village of Warfield also refuses to sign a contract with the Library Board for the provision of library services.

Failure to relocate the Library will mean that Council is discriminating against those older members of our community who find the access to the Library impossible because of their physical limitations.    Trail Council, in effect, chooses to punish Trail residents by denying them a bigger and better location because non-Trail residents would also get the benefit of a new and expanded library and Warfield does not pay a fair share.

Trail residents value their Library.  In the month of April we added 102 new Trail resident cardholders.   Even with our cramped location people see the Library as a vibrant and vital part of their community.  I wish that Trail Council valued the Library as much as its residents do.

The Library Board  conducted our survey and we received input from residents.   The people have spoken but Trail Council does not appear to be listening.

Barbara GibsonChair for Trail & District Public Library Board