Sometimes it seems one can be trying ones best to be informed, and to keep on top of what’s happening out there in the big bad world, and yet one can still be ignorant of facts. Like the library charges debate that has been simmering out there in library land.
Was I aware that in Kaitaia and Kaikohe, residents must pay $15 in a “membership fee” to be able to use their public library. No I was not. Nor did I know that in Matamata, borrowers have to pay $1 a week to rent ordinary non-bestseller books. I thought we were the only library charging a “card fee”, but actually in Dannevirke and Pahiatua, library users over 18 have to pay $10 a year. I am glad we are getting rid of ours. Did you know that apparently in the Wairarapa, Tasman, Buller Westland/Hokitika, Selwyn and Gore regions, various charges apply for ordinary stock on the shelves. I didn’t. I did know about Tauranga, and South Taranaki though. Small comfort that.
Where did I find these little titbits o information? From Werewolf, an online magazine published by Scoop. Peter Sime had sent the link via NZ-Libs. Thanks Peter. The article is quite an interesting one, and focuses on the fight in Wellington over the library budget. It is well worth a read.
When I finished reading it I had several thoughts running through my head, beyond the frustrations at funding for public libraries. My first was why didn’t I know that. My second was where is the library site that details that sort of information. Surely we need some sort of place where library managers, writers and researchers can go and see what is being done where? How can we as a profession fight for free and open information if we don’t even seem to have that for ourselves.
What else is out there under the radar?