Fun po­lice’s war on kids in the li­brary

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - COUN­CIL RE­PORTER

IT SEEMS try­ing to get children in­ter­ested in li­braries can in­deed be a slip­pery slide to dis­as­ter.

Dou­ble Bay’s $11 mil­lion li­brary in­stalled a slide for children as the cen­tre­piece of its plan to at­tract families.

But it is open for as lit­tle as 80 min­utes a day be­cause of what Wool­lahra Coun­cil de­scribes as a “small number” of noise com­plaints.

Now there is a bat­tle be­tween li­brary users who want to pre­serve it as a bas­tion of si­lence and some par­ents who want to throw the book at the fun po­lice.

Vau­cluse mother of three Lara Camp­bell, 39, said it was “ridicu­lous” that op­er­at­ing hours re­main n se­verely lim­ited.

“Most kids don’t t even get out of school un­til 3.20pm so you can’t get there in time un­less you live around the cor- ner,” she said.

“Who are these e peo­ple who are com- plain­ing? Why put t some­thing in there that you are not go­ing to use?”

Ms Camp­bell said she was re­luc­tant to speak out be­cause: “I don’t re­ally want the in­tel­lec­tu­als in the area to come at me with their pitch­forks.”

When the 2000sqm fa­cil­ity was opened in May 2016, the slide had no time lim­its ad­ver­tised.

By Septem­ber 2016 hours were lim­ited to no more than two hours a day. Then by in May 2017 the hours were cut by one hour on Tues­days and 10 min­utes on Mon­day and Wed­nes­days.

Mother of two Roz Coo- per, 39, said she was very pleased to have the slide, say­ing it has at­tracted her kids to the li­brary. “It makes the area very in­clu­sive for children,” she said.

A coun­cil spokesman said: “The open­ing hours are about pro­vid­ing bal­ance and are geared to­wards peak times for kids in the morn­ings and af­ter­noon.

“While the re­sponse to the slide has been mixed, we have re­ceived a great deal of p pos­i­tive feedb back. Hours have been ad­justed based on user feed­back, to con­trol noise lev­els and en­sure the li­brary space c can meet the v vary­ing needs o of all our u users.”

Lara Camp­bell and kids By­ron, Alexa and Cleo love the slide. Pic­ture: Sam Rut­tyn

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