More public consultation needed on library

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THERE is to be further public consultation on plans to change the layout of the Invercargill Public Library, it was decided at an Invercargill City Council (ICC) community services meeting on Monday.
‘ It wasn’t very well notified last
time. ‘
Former children’s librarian Liz Miller was one of several people who spoke at the meeting against proposed changes to the children’s section.
Miss Miller said she was pleased the council was going to undertake further consultation and hoped it would be done more ‘‘openly and widely’’ this time.
‘‘It wasn’t very well notified last time.’’
The ICC plans to remove the walls currently separating the existing children’s and adults’ sections to create one open space, relocate the children’s section to the north-west corner of the space, install more electrical sockets for technological devices and provide coffee facilities.
Miss Miller said she did not want the children’s section incorporated into the adults’ section.
‘‘We are not saying we don’t want modernisation. Update the rest [of the library] but don’t take away our wonderful children’s library.’’
Invercargill mother of two Jennifer Paton presented a petition at the meeting signed by more than 500 people opposed to the children’s section changes.
She too was happy there would be more consultation.
‘‘A lot of people didn’t know what was happening [last time]. It is up to people to have their say now.’’
Miss Paton and her two children, aged 3 and 18 months, visit the library regularly.
If the children’s section was at the back of the adults’ section she said she would no longer be able to take her children there.
‘‘It is a large space which functions well as it is. It doesn’t need to be changed. Kids don’t need other bells and whistles, they need books.’’
Library manager Marianne Foster said what form the consultation would take and when it would be done was still to be decided.
In October 2014, the ICC released two possible library layout options for public feedback. They were sent out with rates notices, posted on the library website and displayed in the library. During that consultation process nearly 300 responses were received, half of which were in support, she said.
Ms Foster said there had been some confusion in the community about the proposed changes. The coffee facilities would be a small kiosk where people could purchase a takeaway coffee, as opposed to a cafe with tables and chairs as some people thought, she said. Whether food would be available had not been decided yet.
There was also some confusion about the technology changes, she said. The plan was only to provide additional electrical sockets so people could charge and use their devices.

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