Service restrictions for Clyde library users begin Aug. 1
Village residents will pay more and get less
Effective Wednesday, Aug. 1, Clyde residents will no longer have access to the provincial library system.
Residents of the village will still have the option to purchase non-resident cards for the Westlock Library, but those cards will limit Clyde residents to just what is on the shelves — they will not be able to order materials through The Regional Automated Consortium (TRAC), which comprises library systems from across the province.
“They’ve lost their ability to order books in from other libraries, which means that if they have the non-resident card here at the library they’re only entitled to what’s on the shelves, and no DVDs,” library director Doug Whistance-Smith said.
The change will also mean some degree of hassle for county residents in the Clyde area. Currently there are 114 members using Clyde mailing addresses, and the automatic change will take place for all of them.
County residents will be required to provide proof of residency to maintain all their borrowing privileges.
The non-resident card will come with an annual cost of $75 for adults, $25 for juveniles and $100 for families.
Whistance-Smith added that while he regrets having to enforce the change, he understands the library board’s rationale in making the decision since Clyde council chose not financially support the library.
“If the municipalities that do fund us are upholding their part of the agreement, then those municipalities that do not basically perform the function that a municipality should — providing literacy services — if they’re not doing it, I guess the other municipalities will be upset by it,” he said.
The issue first came to light about one year ago, when members of the library board discovered that since the village was not paying into the library system, the Westlock Library was in violation of its agreements with the Yellowhead Regional Library and TRAC.
Clyde council discussed the matter at their regular meeting on Oct. 18, 2011, and voted not to pay into the library citing the relative cost to value of such an expense — approximately $10,000 per year.
Despite encouragement from the library’s other member municipalities, Westlock and Westlock County, Clyde council declined to revisit the decision.
Whistance-Smith said he has heard residents of the village discussing the possibility of going to another out-of-town library to get non-resident cards, but emphasized they would still be unable to order materials through TRAC.
“They would impose the same restrictions we do. They would be compelled by law to impose those restrictions,” he said.
He added that he is hopeful the current dissolution study will result in the village becoming a hamlet within Westlock County — a municipality that has been a “very good supporter” of the library. “To go into the fold of the county, they’d be represented properly,” he said.
Until such time as the village dissolves or opts to join the Westlock Library, however, Clyde residents will be stuck with the limited service: something Whistance-Smith said is a regrettable situation.
“We do not want to penalize the library user,” he said. “If there’s a lesson to be learned in all this, it’s that municipal councils need to support essential services, and a library is an essential service.”
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