VIRL approved 2023 budget reflects economy and demand for services

September 26, 2022


The Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) Board of Trustees adopted the 2023 – 2027 Financial Plan at its September 24 meeting, with a total budget of $33,140,504 for 2023. Municipal and regional levies will contribute $27,501,775 to the library budget, an average increase of 8.10% over 2022. The Budget was supported by 86% of Trustees in attendance. 

“With costs rising everywhere, these are challenging times for organizations, governments, families, and individuals in every corner of VIRL’s service area,” says Gaby Wickstrom, Chair of the VIRL Board of Trustees. “I truly believe now more than ever is the time to commit to investing in our libraries. After all, libraries ensure equitable access to technology, educational materials, children’s resources, and so much more, no matter your circumstances or challenges. As always, I am proud to lead a Board that was able to deliver a budget that will not compromise on service, and that affirms our confidence in and commitment to our world-class library system.”    

VIRL delivers tremendous economies of scale and significant returns on investment, by working with 38 local governments across a 42,000 square kilometer service area. The library offers accessible, cost-free spaces in 39 communities, and access to downloadable content, books, movies, music, technology and regular events. Budget 2023 confirms VIRL’s commitment to going permanently fine-free, to ensure the broadest community access to the library’s collections and services.  

“Like so many other sectors, libraries have seen significant increases in the costs to deliver our critical services,” says Joel Adams, VIRL’s Director of Finance. “With 97% of our costs fixed, there is little room for us to shave our budget without negatively impacting our services. I would like to thank our Board of Trustees for recognizing the return-on-investment libraries provide to our communities, for their tireless support of our library system, and for approving a budget that allows us to maintain the service levels our communities expect from us.” 

The cost of adding to VIRL’s collections is subject to annual increases driven by real and market inflation. In 2023, VIRL will maintain collections expenditures at 13% of its total operating budget — the same as in previous years. VIRL intends to balance the tension of historically high demand for our digital collections and relatively sustained physical collections usage, with rising collections costs. 

Budget 2023 reflects VIRL’s projected economic operating conditions, including high inflation, increasing demand for services, supply chain challenges, regulatory pressures and the increasingly complex operating realities in the communities we serve. In early 2023, VIRL will begin implementing its new strategic plan. Community members are invited to participate in the Strategic Planning process – please visit for more information. 

For more information about the 2023– 2027 Financial Plan, including the full budget package, visit  


For more information
David Carson, Director, Corporate Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Cell: 250.327.3651