Anx­ious wait for book bus de­ci­sion

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Heather McCracken

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.

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