What's New

May 19 2021 ORL Board Meeting

by ORL Marketing | May 21, 2021

At the May 19th, 2021 Meeting of the Okanagan Regional Library Board of Trustees, the Board was presented with a financial "clean bill of health" from auditors BDO Canada for the 2020 fiscal year. The Library system strengthened its balance sheet in 2020 with an increase in financial assets and decreased the overall net debt. It also posted a surplus for the year, most of which will be transferred to the building reserve to help to finance new branches such as West Kelowna.

The Library system looks ahead. Early planning is getting underway with the establishment of the 2022 budget preparation timeline, which will see the Board Finance Committee work with staff between now and September to recommend a budget to the Board. The Board must adopt next year's budget by its November meetings later this year.


The Board also heard about:

  • How the Kelowna Downtown Library is hosting 2 Peer Navigators in partnership with Urban Matters and People Employment Agency. The Peer Navigators provide in-depth help to connect individuals in need with the community and resources they need, housing applications, and providing connections to culturally appropriate other supports. 
  • ORL CEO Don Nettleton reported on ORL's intent to start public consultations in partnership with the City of West Kelowna on the new Library space in West Kelowna. The public consultations are expected to begin in the next couple of weeks. The building is on track to be completed by fall 2022.
  • That ORL is starting to re-open the Maker Spaces in compliance with the provincial health guidelines and recommendations. Online training for the new programs and equipment will be rolled out starting in early June.
  • This year the ever-popular Summer Reading Club will be offered safely online. ORL will supplement the provincial program with additional online or take-away resources and programs. Parents are encouraged to register on the ORL website or contact their local branch.
  • The ORL continued to operate our branches at regular open hours at the browse and borrow level. At the same time, many libraries across Canada have had to close, scale down to curbside pickup, restrict service or limit hours. ORL is hoping to safely start a limited number of in-person programs by the fall, guided by the directions of the public health officer.


The Board reviewed and approved the ORL 2020 Annual Report. 2020 was a challenging year for all of us. Like most other businesses and organizations, ORL had to constantly monitor and adjust service levels to ensure public and staff safety, compliance with public health mandates and recommendations and ORL's responsibilities to the communities.


The Annual Report highlighted many statistics which illustrate the significant impact ORL branches have on the communities they serve. The report also demonstrated the clear need and demand for libraries, especially during the Covid19 pandemic. 

Considering that due to the pandemic, ORL buildings were closed for over two months, after which curbside holds pickup was available for the following two months, and ORL did not offer in-person programs for most of the year, the library still managed:

  • 65% increase in ORL eBooks & eAudiobook Checkouts
  • 108% increase in hours spent learning new languages online through Rosetta Stone
  • 4,145 hours spent by patrons learning new skills through Lynda.com 
  • 946,538 PressReader Articles Read
  • Managed to circulate 58% as many physical items as prior years, and by year-end saw the circulation level of physical materials recover to between 80-90% of normal


About the ORL

Established in 1936, the Okanagan Regional Library (ORL) is the 16th largest library system in Canada, serving over 400,000 residents through 31 branches. It covers 59,600 square kilometres of some of the most beautiful territories in BC, stretching from Golden in the Rockies to Osoyoos in the heart of the Okanagan wine and fruit growing areas. The system is staffed by energetic and committed people who have begun shifting to a more learning and technology-focused service.