Security will be stepped up at the downtown Kelowna library to better deal with some problem patrons.
An extra $12,000 has been approved by the board of directors of the Okanagan Regional Library to have security staff maintain a more frequent presence at the main branch.
"We have a variety of patrons that use the library," ORL executive director Stephanie Hall said Thursday. "We want to serve everyone, but we also need to maintain a safe and clean environment for everyone.
"Security is always an ongoing issue, but over the last winter we definitely had some more incidents that were of concern to us," Hall said.
The library is regularly patrolled by members of the Downtown on Call program, a security service operated by the Downtown Kelowna Association. Those patrols will continue and the extra funding, approved by the ORL board at its Wednesday meeting, will be used to hire members of a separate security service.
The most common forms of misbehaviour in the library include people acting up, bothering other patrons and loitering for hours without using any library services. There are also instances of drug and alcohol use.
When problems arise, library staff or security personnel most typically ask the person or people causing a disturbance to leave. On occasion, police are called; the Kelowna RCMP detachment is right next door to the library.
At the Wednesday meeting, the ORL board also approved a 1.6 per cent increase in the library's operating budget for 2014, setting the figure at $16.9 million.
"It's a pretty conservative budget," Hall said.
The owner of a typical Kelowna single-detached home will pay an extra 80 cents in the library levy, up from the current rate of about $47.
The board also received a consultant's report commissioned to determine if member communities in the ORL system were receiving library services equal to the amount of tax dollars their property owners contribute each year.
"Generally, the ORL was determined to be efficient, but there are some areas we have to work on because we are committed to equity," Hall said.
For example, the consultant said library spending in West Kelowna should be increased to better match the district's population and taxation contribution. Conversely, spending in some areas where populations are stagnant or declining, such as Sicamous, could be revised downward.
The ORL operates 29 branches from Revelstoke to Osoyoos. Penticton has its own library, separate from the ORL.