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Delegation Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library Board Meeting Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011, 7 pm. Delegation members: Arnold Neufeldt-Fast (Presenter) Joan Rizi Janet Follis (Web: http://wslibrarypetition@blogspot.com for more information & petition)

Chairman Smith and members of the Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library Board: On behalf of our delegation, I want to thank you for the opportunity to share our concerns about the current state and future of our town’s public library. I do not think it necessary to make a case for a strong public library; I trust we share that conviction and know that the library plays a critical role in community sustainability as a centre of activity--intellectual, social, and cultural. I will also assume that every board member agrees that the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville should have and can afford a library that is at least average—with respect to materials, staff, and space—as compared to Ontario public libraries in communities of our current size and make-up. Because our group shares these assumptions, we are here to voice our strong concern that the Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library has—over a period of at least five years— not kept pace with the needs of our fast-growing, and increasingly diverse, community. The cumulative effect has been a library—while relatively new and well-run—that is below accepted provincial norms and/or averages for acquisitions, staffing and space, the three key categories by which libraries are evaluated. Please allow me to give some detail to our claims and concerns. First, with respect to library materials or acquisitions: in 2007 the library held 4.73 titles per person;1 within one year (2008), due in part to a large influx of new residents and lack of funding, the library’s collection fell to 3.41 titles per person. 2 In 2008, we
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Ministry of Culture and Tourism, “2007 Public Library Statistics: For selected population group 15,001 to 30,000: Key Ratios,” available at: http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/libraries/statistics2007/1500130000/15001_30000_Key_Ratios_Part_1.pdf , accessed Aug. 16, 2011. 2 Ministry of Culture and Tourism, “2008 Public Library Statistics: For selected population group 15,001 to 30,000: Key Ratios,” available at: http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/libraries/statistics2008/1500130000/15001_30000_Key_Ratios_Part_1.pdf, accessed Aug. 16, 2011.

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were still near the provincial average of 3.35 titles per person for Ontario communities comparable to ours. Today however, the library holds only 2.64 titles per person,3 and lags far behind the provincial average. The current budget year is perhaps most distressing in this regard: for 2011, the Library Board has chosen to flat-line material purchases at 2010 levels,4 even though a) the Town plans to grow by another 2,000 to 3,000 new residents this year, and b) the cost of core material acquisitions has risen by 23% over last year, according the Library CEO.5 Despite rising costs, the 2011 per capita library materials budget is identical to 2006: $3.54 per year.6 In three short years our acquisitions have fallen steeply below the provincial average, and so we petition the Board to develop a plan to reach or exceed the provincial per capita average for materials budget over the next three to four years. Second, we have similarly serious concerns with respect to staffing. While we are thankful that a new full-time position has been created for this budget year, we are very aware that this is the first new library position created in over a decade. When our current library facility opened its doors in 2001, we had 9.667 paid library staff (FTE) with a town population of 22,859.8 That same year the library enjoyed 100,150 9 visitors in person, had a circulation of 116,166,10 and annual program attendance of 4,802. Seven years later (2008) our town was in the midst of a population boom with 32,00011
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Carolyn Nordheimer James, cited in S. Bolan, "Added cash not enough at busy Stouffville Library,” Stouffville SunTribune, March 2, 2011. 4 C. Nordheimer James, cited in S. Bolan, "Added cash not enough at busy Stouffville Library,” Stouffville SunTribune, March 2, 2011. 5 Carolyn Nordheimer James, “Report: Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library,” in: Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, Final Operating and Capital Budget and Ten Year Forecast (2011), p. 234. 6 In 2006, the materials budget was $86,388 (pop. 24,390, or $3.54/person); in 2011 the materials budget is $136,445 (pop. 38,650, or $3.53/person). Budget source: information request to CEO, Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library, Aug. 17, 2011. 7 Ministry of Culture and Tourism, “2001 Public Library Statistics: For selected population group 15,001 to 30,000: Library Personnel Report,” available at: http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/libraries/statistics2001/15001_to_30000/15001-30000_personnel.pdf, accessed Aug. 17, 2011. 8 York Region, “York Region Population Growth 1971 to 2006,” http://www.york.ca/Departments/Planning+and+Development/Long+Range+Planning/popstat3.htm, accessed Aug. 17, 2011. 9 Ministry of Culture and Tourism, “2001 Public Library Statistics: For selected population group 15,001 to 30,000: Library Personal Report,” available at: http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/libraries/statistics2001/15001_to_30000/15001-30000_personnel.pdf, accessed Aug. 17, 2011. 10 Ministry of Culture and Tourism, “2001 Public Library Statistics: For selected population group 15,001 to 30,000: Libraries Activity Report,” available at: http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/libraries/statistics2001/15001_to_30000/15001-30000_activities.pdf, accessed Aug. 17, 2011. 11 Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, Annual Report 2009, p. 2.

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residents—up 40% from 2001. The increase from 2001 to 2008 in library circulation was 47%, in-person library visitors 73%, and program attendance 72%.12 The level of paid staff however was up only 3% from 2001, to 9.91 FTE.13 This year (2011) one new position was finally added, to a total of 10.7 FTE -- up from 9.66 FTE in 2001! We still lag far behind the provincial guidelines of one staff per 2000 residents14—or 19 paid library staff positions (FTE) for Whitchurch-Stouffville’s current population of 38,650. The under-staffing of the library has reached a crisis point, with only half the staff needed for an average library for a community our size. We believe that the Board should develop an aggressive plan to approach the provincial average by 2015, beginning with two new FTE positions in 2012, two more in 2013, two in 2014, and two more in 2015—to bring us to a total of 18.7 FTE by 2015. Third, we note what is obvious to most town library users: our facility is much too small for a community of our size. The facility was built in 2001 for a town population of 22,859;15 today the population of Whitchurch-Stouffville is 38,650;16 since 2001 we have grown by almost 70%. The current facility is 15,425 square feet (including shared municipal space).17 Provincial guidelines suggest a 65,625 sq. ft minimum facility for a central, stand-alone library building in Ontario, serving between 35,000 and 75,000 residents.18 To put that into perspective, our facility should be four times its current size, or about the size of the new Stouffville Canadian Tire Store—with the Garden Centre! Town Council had been aware of this critical problem since the 2006 Municipal Election. The 2007 Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Business plan called for an expansion in
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Ministry of Culture and Tourism, “2008 Public Library Statistics: For selected population group 15,001 to 30,000: Libraries Activity Report,” available at: http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/libraries/statistics2008/1500130000/15001_30000_Library_Activities.pdf, accessed Aug. 17, 2011. 13 Ministry of Culture and Tourism, “2008 Public Library Statistics: For selected population group 15,001 to 30,000: Library Personal Report,” available at: http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/libraries/statistics2008/1500130000/15001_30000_Library_Personnel.pdf, accessed Aug. 17, 2011. 14 Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Culture, Building libraries: guidelines for the planning and design of public libraries (1986), p. 21, cited in Southern Ontario Library Service, “Staffing Analysis and Planning Clinic,” (Fall 2009), p. 3. 15 York Region, “York Region Population Growth 1971 to 2006,” http://www.york.ca/Departments/Planning+and+Development/Long+Range+Planning/popstat3.htm, accessed Aug. 17, 2011. 16 Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, “Report 3,” Council in Committee Report, Feb. 15, 2011. 17 Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library Board, “Appendix 4: Comparator Public Library Statistics (2008),” Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library Operational Staffing Study, p. 19. 18 Southern Ontario Library Service, “Appendix: Standards Table,” Making the Case for your Library Building Project, http://www.sols.org/publications/guides/caseforbuildingproject/appendix4.pdf, accessed Aug. 17, 2011.

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2009.19 The next year it was postponed to 2010.20 In 2009, the Town’s Five Year Capital Forecast revised the date again to 2012.21 In 2010 it was revised again to 2014.22 This year, the Town postponed its revised library expansion plan yet again to 2015 23--past the four year term (and accountability) of the present council. Our facility space has been less than adequate for many years and—unbelievable to us—expansion has been further postponed this year again for the fourth consecutive year. We ask the Board to begin immediately with library expansion plans (2012), and to petition Town Council to move the construction date to 2013. Each of the above three standards for measuring library performance hinge on adequate funding. We are aware that the library portion of the Town's operating expenses has dropped from 5.1% in 2004,24 to 3% in 2007,25 and now to an historic low of 2% in 2011.26 This disturbing trend was already evident in the 2007 Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Budget, when the operating cost of library services per person dropped 4% from 2006, i.e., from $29.39 to $28.27.27 That trend continued. The Town’s most recent budget report shows that from 2009 to 2010 alone, the operating cost of library services per person dropped 8%, from $25.43 to $23.44. 28 Thus, between 2006 and 2010 the operating cost of library services per person

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The 2007 Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Business Plan, p. 29 (written late 2006) budgeted for a library expansion in 2009. In February 2007, the Mayor, Councillor Hilton and the Library CEO spoke openly of a library expansion in 2009 (cf. Hannelore Volpe, "Growing Pains for Stouffville?," Stouffville Sun-Tribune, Feb. 7, 2007). In July 2007, Councillor Susan Hilton reported to the Library Board that the Mayor was concerned about a “public expectation of an expanded facility” (Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library, Minutes, July 23, 2007, item 3). 20 In 2008, the Town’s “Five Year Capital Forecast” is revised for a Library expansion in 2010 instead of 2009 (Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, 2008 Final Business Plan, Capital and Operating Budgets, Five Year Capital Forecast, Jan. 29, 2008, p. 153). 21 In 2009, the Town postponed its revised plan for a Library expansion from 2010 to 2012 (Town of WhitchurchStouffville, 2009 Final Business Plan, Capital and Operating Budgets, Five Year Capital Forecast, Feb. 12, 2009, p. 157). 22 In 2010, the Town postponed its revised plan for a Library expansion once more from 2012 to 2014 (Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, 2010 Final Business Plan, Capital and Operating Budgets, Five Year Capital Forecast, Jan. 26, 2010, p. 191). 23 In 2011, the Town postponed its revised plan for a Library expansion once more from 2014 to 2015 (Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, 2011 Final Business Plan, Capital and Operating Budgets, Five Year Capital Forecast, Feb. 22, 2011, pp. 230f., 241). 24 Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, Annual Report 2004, p. 13. 25 Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, Annual Report 2007, p. 24. 26 Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, “Media Release: Town Council Approves 2011 Budgets,” Feb. 23, 2011, p. 2. 27 Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, “Attachment B: 2007 Municipal Performance Measurement Program,” June 2007. 28 Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, “Attachment 3: 2010 Municipal Performance Measurement Program,” June 15, 2011.

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declined from $29.3929 to $23.44,30 or 20%; indexed to inflation the decline is even greater. In 2009, our per capita municipal library funding was already 43% below the provincial average for communities our size.31 It is not a surprise that the Library Board’s 2009 SWOT Analysis notes the following key weaknesses and threats: "Limited space ... [and] continuous under-funding affect[-ing] staffing and resources.”32 Our own experience of the library, as well as our own research, indicates that the WhitchurchStouffville Public Library has now fallen significantly below accepted provincial norms and/or averages for acquisitions, staffing and space. These are the three key categories by which libraries are evaluated, and our library, by all accounts, appears to be in freefall. We come here today with a copy of a petition that we will present later this month to Town Council. It is signed by more than 350 concerned local residents. It is a modest petition for an “average” library for our town—with respect to materials, staffing and space. We are asking the Library Board to begin to plan for this, and we will petition Town Council to enable it to happen. We ask that the Library Board pursue an aggressive approach to these problem areas so that the negative trends we have identified are rectified immediately, and that planning for a library expansion begin immediately. Our petition reads: We, residents of Whitchurch-Stouffville, petition Town Council to develop and approve a plan to increase per person library funding to the provincial average by 2015, and to begin immediately to develop plans for a library expansion. Our question to Library Board members: What is your plan to enable our community to have an “average quality” library--with respect to materials, staffing and space--by 2015? If you do not agree with the premise, namely that our library has fallen significantly below the provincial averages /norms for materials, staffing and space, which statistics show this? We would also welcome a separate community forum with you on these matters. Thank you for this opportunity to present our concerns to you.
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Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, “Attachment B: 2007 Municipal Performance Measurement Program,” June 2007. 30 Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, “Attachment 3: 2010 Municipal Performance Measurement Program,” June 15, 2011. 31 “Library,” BMA Municipal Study 2010, p. 124. 32 Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library Board, “SWOT Summary (July 2009),” Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library Situational Analysis, Nov. 2010, p. 15.