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Didsbury library bylaw not compliant with Libraries Act, says councillor

Council sends library bylaw back to staff for review

DIDSBURY - Didsbury council defeated a motion to amend the town's municipal library bylaw, on advice that it wasn't compliant with the Alberta's Libraries Act.

The motion to approve amending the Didsbury Municipal Library bylaw was defeated at the Nov. 12 regular council meeting. Council passed a followup motion to direct administration to edit and rewrite the Didsbury Municipal Library Bylaw Terms of Reference to fall within the Libraries Act.

"I think it's important for us to recognize that this bylaw doesn't comply with the library act and I think there are two sections that don't comply, Section 2 and Section 4," said Coun. Bill Windsor, council's representative on the Parkland Regional Library board.

"I think it's important for us to recognize that the library operates under the library act strictly independent of the Town of Didsbury as an operational body."

Section 2 of the Didsbury library bylaw deals with the number of members on the library board, while Section 4 deals with term length and the appointment of the member from council.

The defeated motion would have stated under Section 2 that the Didsbury Municipal Library Board shall consist of no fewer than seven members and no more than nine members. The Alberta Libraries Act – and original Didsbury library bylaw – states that the board shall consist of no fewer than five members and no more than 10 members.

Section 4, which states that appointments to the board shall be for a three-year term and limited to three total terms, would have been repealed in the defeated motion.

"At the Parkland Regional Library board meeting the other day, there was a Ken Allen (library consultant) from Municipal Affairs, who was there to speak to the members to clarify the role of trustees and the differentiation between the library and how they operate under the library act and municipal goverment and how it operates under the Municipal Government Act and how the division between the two are structured," he said.

Windsor said that how the library is operated and is structured is governed by the library act, not the town's bylaw.

"I think we need to do a couple of things in order to get all of our documentation with regard to our interaction with the library - the bylaw, terms of reference, and letter of understanding to all, applied by the library act, which they don't currently," he said.

Amanda Riley, acting CAO, said the library bylaw was defeated as it did not align with the Libraries Act.

"This was in part due to the requirement to have all formal documents to the library aligning with the Libraries Act," said Riley.