Posts Tagged ‘charges’

It must be that time of year again, as libraries battle councils feeling the money crunch.

User-pay income rise needed at the library From the Gisborne Herald

LIBRARY users could be asked to put their hands in their pockets to help maintain the service and could be called on to have their share of library costs increased to 15 or 20 percent.

Some parts that just had me steaming…

“As calls were made at the committee meeting yesterday for the H.B. Williams Memorial Library to increase its revenue, chairman Brian Wilson said he was looking at a scheme that had not been tried anywhere else in the country.”

Ok lets hear it…

“Referring to an article on the library on the front page of The Gisborne Herald Weekender last Saturday, he said the efficiency committee might have to consider holding its meetings with the public excluded to prevent people from undermining it.”

Gosh you wouldn’t want the public to have a say in how their money is spent would you…

“Mr Wilson said he and Graeme Thomson had some ideas for raising more income from the library. A fee of 50 cents to $1 for books could raise a worthwhile sum of money. Children’s books could be excluded.”

We have never seen that before… I will scurry off and see if there is any literature on that topic later today.

“Graeme Thomson said the library could be compared with sports fields, for which clubs had to pay a rental. The library had been described as the living room of the community. Many people would say Rugby Park on a Saturday afternoon was that.”

Not really. The Rugby park is the deck you use on the weekend.

“Both Mr Thomson and Mr Haisman challenged the statement that 5000 people a week visited the library, saying they had never seen it even half full.”

And words start to fail me… That is only 104 people an hour… I know how big Gisborne library is and it would be easy to have that many people in there and it to seem “half full”… 

“Mr Thomson said he believed the library could use volunteers more. He had seen that done in Opotiki when he was young, Librarian Pene Walsh, who joined the meeting said the library already had 40 volunteers and was carrying out a volunteer drive.”

Poor Pene…


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On Libraries Charging For Ebooks

I tried, o yes I tried not to, but word was there and open and the internal monologue wanted to be released.

Over the interwebs today came an article about Tauranga City Libraries having charges for their eBooks:

City libraries sourcing eBooks

“Tauranga City Libraries is in the final stages of tweaking the software that will enable people to download eBooks for a small fee.”

I read that and was grateful I was sitting down. It’s a joke right? No? Okay….

While I can guess at the arguments for this decision I don’t agree with it. I think it will be a retrograde move that will put eBook use from libraries back rather than forward. I will of course be ecstatic to be wrong!

My principle objection is along the lines of: Since you can buy an ebook for as little as 99cents [ahem and ahem shameless plug], why would you pay for one?  

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I was pleased to see that South Taranaki council voted against putting charges on their books. Apparently there was 300 submissions on the proposals. I was worried as very little press had come out of South Taranaki, unlike Tauranga.

For those who missed it, here is the TV3 report from last night on the decision of the South Taranaki Council.

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In case you missed it, Tauranga City Council rejected the proposed Library charges. This is great news, although the proposed staff savings are a worry. Just how are they going to achieve those? I suspect we all now how 😦

Now we wait to see what happens on South Taranaki. News on their changes should come out next week.

Tauranga City Council today rejected the proposal to charge for all library books for adults as a way to reduce the rates income required to run the service. They instead voted unanimously to stick with the status quo and continue to only charge for the usual ‘Top Title’ books they currently charge for.

Charges for Top Titles will increase from next year e.g. top title books from $2 to $3 and top title DVDs from $3 to $4. Prices for cancelled books that are being sold will also increase.

Other changes agreed to are:

* the numbers of books people can borrow at one time will reduce from 99 to 20 items, and;

* the target levels of stock will increase from 2.35 items per head to 2.6 items per head.

Staff savings are also expected – $50k in 2010/11 increasing to $250,000 in 2012/13 compared to previous years

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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?

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More developments since yesterday. I was glad to see the strong response put out from LIANZA last night, and to see Barbara on One News.

Also I was glad to hear us on National Radio this morning.

Library And Information Association Of New Zealand Opposes Library Charges

27 January 2010

LIANZA, The Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa, opposes Tauranga City Council’s current proposal to charge for adult loans in an effort to reduce the rates contribution to library services.

LIANZA believes that public libraries have a fundamental role in the development and maintenance of a democratic society supporting culture, education, and economic and personal development.

Barbara Garriock, LIANZA President is concerned that other public libraries may also be facing increased charges and budget cuts.

“In hard times Council officers and elected representatives need to focus on services that will provide the most benefit to their community.”  Ms Garriock says.

Recognising that in times of economic stringency there is a tendency to look for ways of raising funds for public services other than by taxation, the Association asserts that it is essential that a basic level of public library provision be retained in accordance with its Standards for Public Libraries, 2004:

1. Public libraries should be free and universally available.

2. Public library services should be available free of charge, except such charges as defined in the Standards.

The UNESCO Public Library Manifesto (1994) states that “Constructive participation and the development of democracy depend on satisfactory education as well as on free and unlimited access to knowledge, thought, culture and information.” 

Public library usage in this country is amongst the highest in the western world and LIANZA opposes any limitations on access to collections by New Zealanders due to user charges.

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