Pe­ti­tion tar­gets li­brary

Hamilton News - - FRONT PAGE - Candice Gol­lan Win­tec jour­nal­ism stu­dent

A group of pri­mary school pupils have cre­ated a pe­ti­tion in the hope Waikato District Coun­cil will re­verse its de­ci­sion to cut ac­cess to the Hamil­ton City li­braries.

Tama­here Model Coun­try School pupils Ti­tari White, Zion Heke and Ruby Mack­low, all 11, are three of the masterminds be­hind the pe­ti­tion which has been mak­ing its way around the Tama­here and Matangi area.

The pe­ti­tion was cre­ated two weeks ago af­ter Waikato District Coun­cil an­nounced it would axe its $300,000 con­tri­bu­tion to Hamil­ton City Coun­cil, which paid for Waikato res­i­dents to use Hamil­ton’s li­braries, in­clud­ing Hill­crest, Chartwell and the cen­tral city li­brary.

Be­cause Tama­here and Matangi res­i­dents are Waikato ratepay­ers, they will have to pay $80 per year each to have ac­cess to Hamil­ton li­braries.

“We got ticked off be­cause we think it should be free for ev­ery­one,” Zion said.

“Other li­braries have more knowl­edge,” Ruby said. “Our school li­brary is lim­ited.”

Hamil­ton City li­braries have ac­cess to Bor­row Box which is an app for e-books and au­dio­books. The school fears they will lose ac­cess to this re­source, when stu­dents are no longer able to use Hamil­ton li­braries for free.

“This Bor­row Box app is re­ally good for chil­dren who strug­gle to read, and they can listen to rel­e­vant sto­ries for their age,” Tama­here Model Coun­try School teacher Sarah Sin­gle­ton said.

“Cam­bridge li­brary does have a se­lec­tion of au­dio­books, but it is lim­ited.”

The trio were as­tounded that their pe­ti­tion had gained such mo­men­tum.

“Ev­ery sig­na­ture is a step ahead,” Ti­tari said. “We aren’t do­ing this just for our­selves but for ev­ery­one.”

Hamil­ton City Coun­cil­lor Dave Macpher­son, a Waikato res­i­dent, said the pe­ti­tion was a good thing.

“I think this sort of thing is best to come from the com­mu­ni­ties af­fected. I hope it is enough.

“Waikato District Coun­cil ac­tu­ally did a sur­vey show­ing that the great ma­jor­ity of res­i­dents from there wanted the li­brary con­tract to re­main,” Mr Macpher­son said. “But the coun­cil went against that.”

In Oc­to­ber 2017, Waikato District Coun­cil be­gan re­view­ing its li­brary con­tracts with Hamil­ton City Coun­cil and Waipa District Coun­cil. The pub­lic were asked to pro­vide their feed­back and more than 5000 sub­mis­sions were re­ceived:

■ 47.4 per cent of them wanted the coun­cil to con­tinue ne­go­ti­at­ing agree­ments so that res­i­dents could ac­cess li­braries in the neighbouring dis­tricts;

■ 21.4 per cent wanted to can­cel the agree­ments;

■ 20.3 per cent wanted to can­cel the agree­ments and in­tro­duce an e-book col­lec­tion and mo­bile li­brary ser­vice;

■ 10.8 per cent wanted Waikato District Coun­cil to can­cel the agree­ments and work with the com­mu­nity to get new ideas.

“This was one of many tough de­ci­sions that we were forced to make in or­der to keep rate rises un­der con­trol,” Waikato District Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Gavin Ion said.

The Waikato District Coun­cil have said that they are ex­plor­ing op­tions to col­lab­o­rate with all the other coun­cils in the Waikato re­gion.

“Please keep in mind that all op­tions are on the ta­ble and open for con­sid­er­a­tion,” Waikato District Coun­cil cus­tomer de­liv­ery man­ager Brian Cathro said.

Photo / Candice Gol­lan

Tama­here Model Coun­try School stu­dents Ruby Mack­low (left), Ti­tari White and Zion Heke with copies of their pe­ti­tion.

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