Pe­ti­tion to save mo­bile li­brary

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Heather McCracken

A weekly visit to the book bus keeps Elva Kir­wan well-stocked with read­ing ma­te­rial.

The 87-year-old is among those pe­ti­tion­ing Auck­land City Coun­cil to keep the mo­bile li­brary ser­vice, which is un­der threat from bud­get cuts.

“For older peo­ple who are not mo­bile, books are very heavy to carry,” she says.

“They’ve got to get on a bus and some of them are in walk­ers.”

Mt Roskill mo­bile li­brary user Bert Har­ri­son thinks it would be a huge loss if the ser­vice were cut. “Too right I do,” he says. “Peo­ple with trans­port would be all right, but that’s ex­tra cost on older peo­ple with petrol and so on.

“For me, I’d be able to man­age, but a lot of peo­ple wouldn’t.”

Sig­na­tures sup­port­ing the ser­vice are be­ing col­lected by Avon­dale Com­mu­nity Board mem­ber Cather­ine Farmer, who pre­vi­ously worked on the book bus.

“When I worked on the li­brary back in 2000 the same is­sues were be­ing ex­plored,” she says.

“Some of the ladies I’ve ap­proached to sign the pe­ti­tion re­mem­ber me from work­ing on the li­brary, so there are long-term users,” she says.

“It dis­ap­points me that our older cit­i­zens aren’t con­sid­ered when it comes to pro­vid­ing ser­vices.”

By Fri­day about 150 sig­na­tures had been col­lected, mostly out­side book bus stops.

“There’s been a huge level of in­ter­est in sign­ing the pe­ti­tion,” Ms Farmer says.

A re­port on ways to slash the li­brary’s as­set man­age­ment bud­get has pro­posed cut­ting funds for a re­place­ment ve­hi­cle.

The move would mean the end of the ser­vice once the ex­ist­ing book bus was no longer use­able.

Li­braries man­ager Al­li­son Dob­bie told the coun­cil’s com­mu­nity ser­vices com­mit­tee last month the bus still had “some life in it”.

The com­mit­tee led by coun­cil­lor Paul Gold­smith asked for more in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing al­ter­na­tive ways to reach mo­bile li­brary users.

The pe­ti­tion was to be pre­sented to the com­mu­nity ser­vices com­mit­tee this morn­ing.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Home de­liv­ery: Keen reader Elva Kir­wan, left, and Cather­ine Farmer with the mo­bile li­brary pe­ti­tion out­side the book bus at the Denny Ave pen­sioner flats.

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