Teen and children’s programs “gaining momentum” at library

Lisa Goudy
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Karon Selzer, head librarian at the Moose Jaw Public Library, speaks about the library's successes in 2013 and about the 2014 operating budget estimates at the Dec. 9, 2013 budget committee meeting.

Story times are increasingly popular at the Moose Jaw Public Library.

“The children’s department continues to offer more story times. In 2012 they offered 101 programs and in 2013 they offered 140,” said head librarian Karon Selzer. “So we were able to increase that. We still have a growing demand for story time. All of our story time sessions are wait-listed.”

That was one of the topics she touched on while giving a presentation, along with library board chairman Terry Gabel, to budget committee at Monday’s meeting on the library’s proposed 2014 budget. The library’s 2014 budget estimates are $1.043 million or $5,482 higher than the projected budget in 2013 of $1.037 million.

“In 2014 our budget estimate is a modest increase, mostly in the area of the Palliser levy, which covers staff salaries and benefits,” said Selzer. “We are in the process of re-negotiating a collective agreement.”

The other increases are because of the addition of a library technician and increases in advertising about the library programs. The advertising estimates are $5,400 in 2014 compared to a projected $4,000 in 2013. That is an increase of $1,400 from the projected $4,000 in 2013.

Other parts of the budget include a $92,065-increase for the Single Integrated Library System (SILS) special levy under the Palliser Regional Library levy.

The equipment reserve for 2014 is at $40,031 compared to a projected $39,246 in 2013.

Total revenues, however, are estimated to be down in 2014 at $31,300 from the projected revenues of $31,936 in 2013.

Selzer said this past year the library has focused on increasing customer service, developing a better strategy and the addition of an archives intern helped out.

“Really she was a benefit to raise the profile of the archives department, to get a lot of the collections catalogued that were backlogged there and also her skill in helping researchers and also helping the library celebrate its 100th anniversary,” said Selzer.

 She estimated 450 people attended the centennial event in August.

In addition to story times, the library has increased programming for all ages.

“We’ve held several sessions on using e-Readers and tablets because there are people who get them as gifts and then have no idea how to use them,” said Selzer. “We also applied and got grant from the community initiatives fund, which allowed us to really start offering teen programs on a regular basis.”

This year, the library offered 87 teen programs. At first between four and eight people attended the teen programs, but later on between 15 and 20 teenagers showed up.

“We are feeling quite good about that. It seems to be a hard audience to attract and keep coming, but we seem to be gaining momentum. So that’s good,” said Selzer.

She added the youth advisory council has helped in coming up with program ideas and bringing friends to the programs.

“We’ll be seeking more involvement with the schools in 2014,” said Selzer. “We’ll be spearheading to get more information into the schools and find students to come for research assistants and students so they’re aware of what the Moose Jaw library has to offer.”

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: Single Integrated Library System, Palliser Regional Library

Geographic location: Moose Jaw

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