Despite the city's three per cent target increase for department budgets, the nine-member London Public Library Board — which includes councillors Nancy Branscombe, David Winninger and Gina Barber — unanimously agreed this week to submit a request to Board of Control for a 6.4 per cent hike instead. As readers might recall, council last year acceded to the Library's request for a 4.6 per cent increase, submitting to the Library's threats to close branches or reduce operating hours after the Library had already approved expenditures contained in the unapproved over-target portion of its budget. The threats, if not yet the pre-emptive spending strikes, are repeated in this year's budget request. It should also be noted that council also approved earlier this summer setting aside $25,000 in reserve to cover any potential human resource budget shortfalls that the Library might experience in this budget year.
Although most Londoners would probably be satisfied with the Library system's service, much of their relatively substantial investment is hidden in taxes, for which they appear to be receiving a relatively poor return.