The Moose Jaw Public Library requested a slight increase to its 2023 operating budget during the first budget meeting for Moose Jaw City Council on Tuesday night.

The net funding requested by the library was $1.25 million, which is an increase of $18,000 or 1.5 per cent compared to 2022.

This increase reflects wage increases that were negotiated for employee salaries as part of their Collective Bargaining Agreement. There is also a $3,000 increase for the replacement of small office equipment.

The Library's estimates show that it anticipates a total of $1.265 million in expenses and $11,000 in revenue for a net request of $1.25 million.

In the past year, the library has been focusing resources on improving its facility as a space and began actively seeking external funding for those improvements. Last year also saw the library reach the final stages of development of the library's first-ever strategic plan. 

"From an administrative side, we spent the last year reviewing upcoming large equipment projects and adjustments to the library space. This work has been informed by the process of working through our first strategic plan which is in the final stages," said head librarian Gwen Fisher.

Fisher noted by the summer of this year the number of patrons using the library started to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Coun. Heather Eby said emphasized points made by Fisher in her presentation that the library offers a wide range of services.

"Your presentation just highlights the fact that the Moose Jaw Public Library is so much more than just a library with all of the great activities and the different kinds of resources that are offered in multiple languages. I think my personal favourite this year was the Touch-A-Truck event," Eby said.

This past year, the library was selected as a pilot site for the province's dyslexia-friendly collection for children and youth. The program is dedicated to serving those struggling to learn with dyslexia and sparking a love for learning through reading at a young age.

The library continued its outreach program, offering literacy-based activities to 300 children through the city's park program as well as visiting retirement homes.

The focus of 2023 will be to implement those improvements to help refresh the library as a space.

The library's budget request was tabled for later in city council's budget deliberations.