Friday, April 16, 2010

Wellington City Council to close down suburban libraries?

The Wellington City Council has a draft community facilities policy [PDF].The Council’s website summary mentions ‘strategic priorities'. These strategic priorities have the potential for the Wadestown, Brooklyn, Island Bay, Ngaio, and Khandallah libraries to close. Public meetings are being held regarding this draft policy next week at the Johnsonville, Central and Kilbirnie libraries - ironically, libraries that are going to be upgraded.

"Neighbourhood centres" that have a population of fewer than 6,000 people may not have a library service, let alone a library. Wadestown has fewer than 6000 people and has a library. But the draft plan ( in table 2 page 7) is silent about any library services for neighbourhood centres.

Other areas - called "district centres" may lose their library as well, and be downgraded to having "library services" within community spaces", such as recreation centres and community halls. This could mean that the Khandallah library could close and be reduced to a "library service" in a space like the Khandallah Town Hall or a local church. Other areas will not even have a "library service" if they are within 3 kilometres of another town that has a library service tucked away in a community hall - so the Ngaio library may close and be without a library service as it is near to the hall used for the library service in Khandallah.

Our kids often visit the local library with their school class. So much for all the kids who go to school in places like Khandallah and Island Bay, they may miss out.

Now of course the Draft Annual Plan doesn't mention closing libraries - if it did, too many people will be sending submissions to the council opposing the policy. "Strategic priorites" sounds so much nicer. Submissions to this plan close close 10 May.




Blogger Ngaire Best said...

There is good reason why the Draft Annual Plan doesn't mention closing libraries - quite simply - there is NO intention to close any libraries!

The Draft Community Facilities policy and implementation plan has a focus on new investment, and future provision of community services, including recreation centres, pools, community centres and halls and libraries.

It does not and was not designed to send a message of doom, there is NO intention to start closing libraries or other facilities that are well used and that are meeting local communities’ needs. I would refer the author to section 6, p. 17 of the policy which clearly sets out the parameters’ in which council would consider the disposal of any community facility. It is my understanding that currently there are NO facilities that could meet the test set out.

Most importantly, I urge Wellingtonians and others interested in Community Facilities to take the time to tell us what you think of our plans (both if you like it or hate it) for the future investment and provision of these community services

Cr. Ngaire Best
Social Portfolio Leader
Wellington City Council

April 19, 2010 at 11:25 AM  
Blogger Swimming said...

Ngaire, perhaps you`d like to explain, then, why the parameters in section 6 actually allow for libraries to close. Obviously your "understanding" about council "intentions" and the " test set out" are substandard, or you are being duplitious.

April 20, 2010 at 9:17 PM  

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