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New coalition formed to fight Wellington library cuts

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A new coalition has been formed to campaign against library cuts across the Wellington region.

The Wellington Library Coalition brings together the Owners of Wellington Libraries (OWL), Save Khandallah Library, supporters of the Brooklyn Library, along with library campaigners from the Hutt, Wadestown and other areas who share concerns about cuts to library hours, services and jobs. The Public Service Association, which represents most public library staff across the region, is also part of the Coalition.

Almost two million dollars will have been taken out of Wellington City Council’s libraries budget over the past three years if another round of cuts goes ahead as part of this year’s annual plan proposals.

Marie Russell from OWL says "Libraries are the heart and soul of communities. Already we’ve seen cuts to holiday programmes for children, weekly pre-school story times, and children’s book clubs in a number of suburban libraries, not to mention the loss of professional and frontline library staff."

"Current proposals to reduce library hours in Brooklyn, Cummings Park Ngaio, Wadestown, Island Bay and Khandallah libraries are unfair and will have a negative impact on services and on older people, parents, children, unemployed people and people with disabilities in our communities."

The Coalition is questioning the Council’s mandate for the cuts.

"We know that many of the current Councillors stood on a platform three years ago of supporting libraries. We’re asking them to stand by that commitment in the current annual plan and in the forthcoming local elections," Marie Russell says.

The Coalition will be seeking to raise its concerns and speak to the Council’s Annual Plan meetings this month. Representatives will also be contacting councillors individually and have requested a meeting with WCC Chief Executive Kevin Lavery.

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