Library trims hours to help balance the books

Agassiz is losing three hours of library time per week thanks to a budget cut at the Fraser Valley Regional Library.

Agassiz is losing three hours of library time per week thanks to a budget cut at the Fraser Valley Regional Library.

The library will close at 5 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, effective March 11. Out of the FVRL’s 25 member libraries, the Agassiz branch is the only one with reduced hours for 2015.

There are currently four staff members who work in the Agassiz library plus the library manager. Nicole Gletnworth, library manager for Chilliwack and the Upper Fraser Valley, says it won’t affect the number of staff at the branch.

“One staff member will be redeployed to another one of our libraries in order to maintain her current hours,” Glentworth explains.

According to a press release from the FVRL, the change was made in response to local budget needs and a drop in customer attendance patterns.

“Both the District of Kent and FVRL endeavoured to limit impact on customers,” says Scott Hargrove, FVRL’s CEO. “We chose to close Agassiz Library earlier on Wednesdays due to low reduced usage and no regularly scheduled programming on that evening.”

Glentworth says library activity is monitored in a number of ways, such as through the number of items circulated, attendance at in-library programs and the level of foot traffic through the doors.

“When we did our investigation into the level of activity, we took into consideration the number of items that were checked out by our customers as well as regular programs that took place in the library in the evenings,” explains Gletnworth. “We decided that the minimum effect to the community would be on a Wednesday evening.”

Agassiz Library’s after hours book drop will remain open – materials dropped off after hours are backdated when checked in. Customers can check out digital content, place holds, and renew items online 24/7 at www.fvrl.ca.

The Agassiz branch is one small part of a vast library system, with 25 libraries serving more than 700,000 people. The governing board consist of elected officials representing 15 member municipalities and districts. District of Kent Mayor John Van Laerhoven is the current chair of the FVRL board and representing Harrison Hot Springs is Coun. Sonja Reyerse.