North Delta’s George Mackie Library. (James Smith photo)

George Mackie Library shortfalls highlighted in Delta library plan

There’s “a significant gap in the level of service offered to residents in North Delta,” says councillor

Delta’s library plan has been approved, but councillors are still concerned about services levels at the George Mackie Library.

In council on Monday night (Jan. 8), Coun. Jeannie Kanakos noted that there is “a significant gap in the level of service offered to residents in North Delta.”

“We’ve been talking about improving and enhancing library service in North Delta for quite a while,” she said. “Having a plan before us … has helped us see how far off we are specifically.”

The plan, initially brought forward in the summer of 2017, outlines weaknesses in each of Delta’s three libraries, and offers suggestions to help the facilities remain consistent with the rest of the Fraser Valley Regional Library (FVRL) system.

Related: Delta residents weigh in on library plan

The plan uses a population-based system to measure how effectively each library is meeting the needs of its community. While Tsawwassen and Ladner both meet the optimal service levels for their respective communities’ populations, North Delta’s library falls short.

According to the optimal service levels, the Mackie Library should be between 16,000 and 24,000 square feet (it is 11,4000 square feet), have 15 to 20 full time-equivalent staff (it has 9.9) and three to four professional librarians (it has two). The service levels also dictate the library should have a computer lab, although the plan notes that modern libraries have moved away from computer labs.

Despite concerns, the plan was adopted unanimously, with the amendment of changing the population numbers to reflect the most current census.

(Staff told council that this change would not alter the libraries adherence to the optimal service levels.)

Now the plan has been approved, staff will report back to council annually on its implementation.

City staff will bring back a report in advance of this year’s business planning workshop to update council on options to address the deficiencies with the George Mackie Library and potential costs.

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