Budgeting for a better library

By Deb Cryderman, Camrose Canadian Lifestyles Contributor

Coun. Bill Sears lends a hand with Snack in the Stacks at the Camrose Public Library on Tuesday. Supplied

Coun. Bill Sears lends a hand with Snack in the Stacks at the Camrose Public Library on Tuesday. Supplied

The Camrose Public Library Board is working on the 2018 library budget to ensure the best service for everyone who uses the library. 


Guided by their strategic plan (2014-2019), in which community stakeholders helped identify the resources, technology, and programs desired by the community, the plan also keeps fiscal responsibility in mind. The services the library provides the community, and the organizations the library partners with, have a significant impact on the social, cultural, and economic base of Camrose. The library, in turn, is able to respond directly to the social and cultural and recreational pillars of the City of Camrose Strategic Plan. 

When developing a budget, the library depends on several funding sources including the municipalities, the province, grants, and donations. We try very hard not to place the entire burden of library operations back on the city and county. In 2017, the library raised almost $265,000 in non-municipal funding. Your summer programmers, your adult programmer, your technology programmer, and programs such as Snacks in the Stacks would not exist if it were not for grants and donations. 

As we move forward, we like to keep in mind where we came from. If you were to look at statistics from 1981, the year we moved into our current location as a bright, shiny, new building, you will see that the library is a vastly different place. In 1981, Camrose Public Library had only 26,539 books on the shelves and loaned 83,321 books. In 2016, the library had 48,167 physical items (books, DVD’s, games, strollers, walking poles, bocce balls, and more) and 7,882 electronic items. People borrowed almost 170,000 physical and electronic items, visited the library approximately 100,000 times, and visited us on our website over 100,000 times. In 1981, we did not keep statistics about programming, but in 2016, 24,931 people attended programs. We have already surpassed that number in 2017. 

In developing the budget, we need to reflect on the changes to the way people use the library. This column often reminds you that we are more than a book storage facility, and the numbers above reflect that.  

The library strives to be an open, inviting, safe, fun, and inclusive public space. The library welcomes everyone, regardless of heritage, education, beliefs, race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental capabilities, or income. The library is one place in the community where people of all backgrounds can be together. 

If you are curious about more of our statistics from 2016, we have compiled a beautiful annual report that is available to you at our service desk. Please help yourself to one. 

If you are curious about the value of how you used the library, please check out this American Library Association value calculator: http://bit.ly/WOUW3R When we inputted the value of Camrose Public Library use in 2016, it came out to over $5,100,000, or approximately six times our annual budget. For the investment in the library, there is truly value received by the community. 

Deb Cryderman is the Director of the Camrose Public Library. When she isn’t at the library, she can be found chasing her border collie puppy around the city’s walking trails. It is very important to her that the library maintain a fiscally responsible budget while providing the best service possible to the community. 

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