by Tristan Turner
Morinville News Correspondent
Following a motion made by Councillor Stephen Dafoe, the Morinville Library will be open seven days a week. The motion passed 4-3, with Councillors Boutestein and Putnam, as well as Mayor Holmes voting against. The proposal will cost just under $8,600.
The motion came following a reduction in the libraries proposed budget by Council that cut Monday opening from the libraries hours during last year’s budgeting process. Councillor Dafoe previously raised a motion afterward to reopen the library during the summer reallocating some money back to the library.
Dafoe’s argument to provide additional funding was based on information the town was below budget in some areas.
Councillor Barry Turner joked, “I’d like it open eight days a week,” and offered his full support to increase library hours.
Deputy Mayor Brennan Fitzgerald supported the motion but thought that the library should be allocated enough money in the budget to stay open year round. “I believe the library needs stability when it comes to budgeting,” he said. “I think it’s embarrassing that we’re playing this game where we made a decision to not give them the increase they were looking for, and now we are coming back and giving them more money. Frankly, I think it makes us look silly.”
Morinville’s Library Manager Isabelle Cramp was happy with the announcement, thanking Council for the change. “Being able to reopen the library on Mondays is absolutely terrific,” she said. “We are grateful that Council were able to provide additional funding so the hours of operation could once again include Mondays until the end of the year. We had received so many comments from the public asking for the library to be accessible every day of the week. On behalf of the library users, patrons, Library Board, library staff, and volunteers, I would like to thank Town Council for their support.”
According to data reported from the library, 942 visitors came to the library on Mondays over the summer.
The dissenting voters on Council all agreed that they voted against the motion because they did not support ad hoc budgeting by giving funds to the library that were previously cut in small doses throughout the year, with Mayor Holmes saying it could “set a precedent for other groups” such as the Festival Society.