The Swift Current Branch Library could be breaking away from the Chinook Regional Library in the distant future.

Swift Current city council passed a motion last week unanimously for the library to begin a process to potentially leave the regional system and become a stand-alone municipal library.

Al Bridal, Swift Current's Mayor, said the decision will allow the City autonomy of its own library and that's the main reason council has directed City administration to look into the split.

"Whenever library hours are cut or programs have been cut or things happen to the library, citizens come to us as council and as a City and say why are you doing this," he said. "In reality, we don't have any control over it. We have people on the (Chinook) library board but the library administration makes its own rules."

The City is budgeted to spend just over $453,000 on the Swift Current Branch Library for services this year, although that money is given to the Chinook Regional Library as an operating grant. Swift Current taxpayers also dole out between $80,000-100,000 annually for building maintenance and upgrades. Bridal doesn't expect the move would save the City any money.

Leaving the regional system is far from a done deal.

"It has to go in front of a provincial organization [next]," he said. "It's like a municipal affairs."

Once they review the file, they might recommend mediation for the two sides, like Yorkton is currently experiencing.

"They started this process a couple of years ago," he said. "The provincial organization is seeing if there is some way that Yorkton can still stay in their regional library and get what Yorkton is looking for."

The second step the City will have to undertake is a public hearing during a future council meeting in either late 2022 or early 2023.

"This is not a foregone conclusion by any means," he said. "We do want to hear all sides."

The idea was brought to council several months ago by the Swift Current Library Board.

In a release yesterday by the Chinook Regional Library, Director Kathryn Foley assured municipal stakeholders they're looking at all options to ensure their best possible services remain.