Anxious wait for book bus decision
The mobile library has a temporary reprieve, but the threat of budget cuts still looms.
A decision on replacing the vehicle has been deferred while Auckland city councillors wait for more information.
The library had suggested cutting funds for a replacement bus in order to keep budgets in check.
Libraries group manager Allison Dobbie told the community services committee last week that failing to replace the bus wouldn’t immediately end the service.
The existing bus still had “some life in it”, she said.
“If it reached a point where the vehicle was costing more to maintain than it was worth, that would be the point when we would review the service.”
The committee will decide next month whether to include money for a replacement in the library’s asset management plan.
The book bus makes more than 80 stops a month, mostly at resthomes and pensioner housing.
Freemans Bay resident Patricia Cummins says many older people would have no access to books without the service.
“It’s a very necessary service for many people who are elderly and frail,” she says.
“There’s a social factor about the bus as well – everybody gathers waiting for it and says hello.”
The library was required to save money on the asset management plan as part of council efforts to keep rates down.
Staff proposed $13 million in cuts, including scaling back building projects and slowing stock replacement.