Helping the Banff Public Library 0
The 2011 Banff Public Library Gala.
Banff Public Library has two — fun and important — fundraisers coming up.
On Saturday, Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. the library is holding a Portrait Fundraiser with Lifetouch Photography. When you book a 15-minute sitting for $30 you will receive an 8 x 10 portrait and the option to purchase other prints. And $20 of the fee goes to support the Banff Public Library. Individuals and small groups are welcome and so are your pets — as long as they are on a leash! To book your sitting time call Lifetouch at 1-403-255-5440 or sign up on-line at lifetouch.ca/abfamilyphotos
The Second Annual Library Gala will be here in the library on Friday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Last year’s inaugural gala was a great success. As well as being lots of fun, the sold-out event raised close to $10,000 for the library through ticket sales, a silent auction and donations. We are very grateful to former library board member Chic Scott and all of the other volunteers who did such a great job organizing last year’s event.
Chic is heading up the arrangements again this year and it promises to be another wonderful evening.
Tickets are $25 each and include appetizers, wine, live music, great company, and the satisfaction of knowing that you are contributing to our very worthy library. Don’t delay getting your tickets! They are available at the library circulation desk and through library board members. Love your library? Please come out and support us.
You may have noticed that the board and staff of Banff Public Library are engaging in an increasing number of fundraising efforts. Part of the reason for this is that this little library is almost too successful for our own good! In 2011 there were more than 130,000 visits made to the library. Given our open hours at that time, this meant that we had an average of more than 42 people coming in during every hour we were open.
This year, because of ongoing erosion in our funding, and the still uncertain results of our increased fundraising efforts, we had to cut hours from 61 open hours a week to 52.5. This change was intended to save money on staffing, which is the library’s largest expense. We cut the number of evening hours and Sunday hours because they were consistently the quietest times in the library. But, in some ways, this approach has not really worked. What has actually happened is that, even with this considerably reduced access, the number of people coming to the library has grown by more than 11 per cent so far this year.
We are now averaging more than 55 people per open hour coming in! As you can understand, this situation makes it difficult to save money on staffing. (And we hate kicking people out so early every day.)
In this time of the Internet, e-books, and social media, some people have the mistaken idea that public libraries are no longer relevant to our society. In fact, the trend of more use of the library that we are seeing in Banff is consistent with what is happening in many other places. The large number of people who come to libraries speaks volumes about their ongoing relevance.
Public libraries are not, and never were, primarily warehouses for books. They are community hubs that people use for a very wide variety of purposes including: to research, study, learn English, improve literacy, engage in affordable recreation, attend programming, search for work and housing, copy or print documents, write distant education exams in an approved setting, display art, see art, hear speakers, get out of the cold, find out where to stay and eat in Banff, find inspiration, counter social isolation, get out of crowded housing, access the Internet, use a pay phone, use public washrooms, hold meetings, borrow books, CDs, DVDs, language kits, and so on. Public libraries are essential institutions in any real democracy. They help to create a better world by giving everyone opportunities for personal growth and development. Even people who never come into the library benefit from the existence of a place in the community that welcomes everyone.