The proposed Regina Public Library Board budget has been released, outlining $19.2 million in spending plans for 2014.
The board is also proposing a library tax increase of two per cent, which would work out to about $3 for the owner of a typical 1,200-square-foot house.
Among the things planned for 2014: the Regina Public Library Board says it wants to have a conversation with the community about the future of the aging main branch downtown.
Here are some of the highlights of the proposed budget, which goes to the city's executive council on Wednesday:
1. Work continues on new branch in North Central — Plans for the combined school, library and community centre, called the North Central Shared Facility, are coming together. The new Albert branch is being rebuilt as part of the complex, replacing the standalone branch that's in the same neighbourhood. The Regina library board says it has allocated $2.5 million toward the project this year, with another $1.88 million to be paid over the following three years.
2. More e-books — The library board says budgets for collections -- books, videos and so forth -- have been flat for several years, but this year it wants to hike spending by 3.25 per cent. The library system plans to add more downloadable e-books and audio books, but it also says the public wants paper books, CDs and DVDs, too.
3. More self-checkout machines — Machines that allow library patrons to check out their own materials will be installed in more branches. The library board says the machines reduce repetitive strain injuries among staff and help minimize lineups.
4. Future of the George Bothwell Branch —- The only Regina library branch that's built inside a major shopping mall is experiencing growing pains. The library says the Bothwell branch at the Southland Mall is overdue for a redesign and updating. The board wants to review the lease (it's budgeting $200,000 in lease payments this year) and look at options for a possible move.
5. Another 'literacy cafe' — After setting up a special section with eight computers in the Regina main branch for people to improve their English literacy, a second 'literacy cafe' will be set up at the Glen Elm branch on the east side of the city.