Thursday, June 3, 2010

Power to the People!

Congratulations to the people of Tauranga! They have achieved a great victory over the city council there who proposed charging for all adult fiction and non fiction items in the city's libraries.

The decision reached yesterday means the controversial fees plan has been axed and most library items will remain free in the city. However, popular new titles, DVDs and CDs will face a rise in fees to help offset the costs council faces in running their libraries.

A unanimous decision - perhaps unsurprising given the issue has generated overwhelmingly negative public opinion and 2010 being an election year (is that too cynical of me?) - it is conditional on council signing off the 2010-11 annual plan later this month.

However, there was no word on another proposed revenue generating idea floated by councillors involving the libraries. In a meeting in April, the proposal of selling naming rights to the libraries to corporate groups was mooted, with Councillor Bill Faulkner stating "I have no problem with Coca-Cola Library." Tauranga ratepayers faces an annual bill of $6.4 million-a-year to run its libraries.

So a grand success story for people power in Tauranga with the overturning of the proposed fees for adult items in its libraries! Congratulations to all involved in rallying the public and making those voices heard. A more sedate congratulations too, to the mayor and councillors for seeing sense. And while I understand the council's need to relieve rates pressure, I find the idea of corporate sponsorship of libraries rather distasteful and even a little tacky...but probably not so much that it would put me off using this invaluable public resource.

1 comment:

Café Chick said...

I'm really pleased to hear this. It's scary to think how close that a pay-per-use library was in becoming a reality. It's good to know that common sense prevailed!