Joint Venture Libraries Enabled by The Public Libraries Act, 1996
What is a joint venture library?
The Public Libraries Act, 1996 allows public libraries, schools and/or community groups to work together, in a partnership, to ensure the provision of public library services to a community. Section 80 of the Act, on joint venture libraries, could refer to offering a public library service and a school library service from a single facility. A joint venture agreement could also be used if a library were to be placed in a combined facility with a municipal office or a senior's centre, or other community facility. Municipalities are required by legislation to consult with the local and regional library boards respecting the location of the public library.
Joint venture libraries rely on two principles. First, joint venture libraries are based on willing partnerships. Willing partnerships are created when all partners who have a stake in the project come together to discuss the concept and find out if they do, indeed, wish to pursue the project. Partners who address issues at the beginning of the planning process develop a framework for problem solving in future project operations. Second, a decision to create a joint venture library is made by local and regional entities; not by the provincial government. The decision to create a joint venture library belongs to those that would be affected by its creation and the legislation supports this by providing for a written agreement to document areas of common agreement.
For example, where there is a consensus amongst the local library board, regional library board, local municipalities, and the local school board and school division board that they wish to proceed with a joint venture library these key players (and others, where appropriate) prepare the written agreement that is a requirement under the Act, addressing the topic outlined in the regulations.
All joint venture agreements entered pursuant to section 80 of the Act are to include terms and conditions that address the following matters:
- a statement of purpose for the joint venture;
- the rights, duties and privileges of the parties to the agreement;
- the financial responsibilities of parties to the agreement;
- a facility design that ensures reasonable access to the facility by the public;
- a process to resolve disputes;
- a provision for periodic review of the agreement;
- the method of dissolution on termination of the agreement;
- a clarification of the role of the public library board respecting access to library services by all patrons;
- the composition of the board of directors of any joint venture library, the method of appointing or electing the directors, their terms of office;
- the method by which the board of directors of a joint venture library shall:
- conduct its meetings and record its resolutions; and
- develop policies respecting the operation of the joint venture library;
- a commitment to provide, at a minimum, the basic library services set out in section 3.